8 of the most exciting travel experiences in the world

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life of Riley carefully hand-picks game-changing experiences and global events – each one is rigorously researched and checked, then grouped by genre, budget and month, so that they are simple and inspiring to browse. Rather than a booking site, this is an informative, one-stop resource for discovering the extraordinary – whether you’re looking for cultural kicks or push-yourself-to-the-limit sporting challenges. Here are eight of the very best things to do on the planet.

Couples are getting ‘sleep divorces’ – and it could save your relationship

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It’s becoming what’s known as a ‘sleep divorce’ and far from being a sign of a relationship in trouble, experts are saying it could be a good thing.

Perhaps one of you is a night owl, while the other is an early bird. If one partner often has disrupted sleep, then this can impact the other. Other reasons people sleep apart include different schedules, snoring , co-sleeping and even the temperature of the room.

“Poor sleep also can have negative effects on relationships,” PT reports.

“Lack of sleep may diminish the positive feelings we have for our partners. Researchers found people with lower quality sleep demonstrated lower levels of gratitude, and were more likely to have feelings of selfishness, than those who slept well.

“People who slept poorly showed less of a sense of appreciation for their partners.

“What’s more, poor sleep on the part of one person in the relationship had a negative effect on feelings of appreciation and gratitude for both partners.”

If this sounds like something you could both benefit from: “Tell your partner that you really love them but you’d be [less resentful of their sleeping habits] if you slept in separate beds.

“Suggest trying it for one or two nights a week and see how it goes.”

If Your Mind Wanders While Meditating, an Expert Says to Follow This Technique to Refocus

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Every time one of my friends brings up their meditation practice, I quickly reply with something along the lines of, “I wish I could do it, but I can’t focus.” I know that meditation isn’t about perfection, but being type A, it’s hard for me to do something if I’m not “perfect” at it. Lately, meditation keeps popping up in my circle, from badass friends who are constantly hustling to my sheroes like Robin Roberts meditating every day at three-something in the morning, according to an interview with The Cut.

I figured if Robin Roberts can wake up that early every morning and commit to a meditation practice, I, too, could wake up (a little later) and get my meditation on. I’m still a meditation rookie, but one thing I found helpful when my mind wanders, which is basically every minute, is mental noting. “Mental noting, or labeling, is a mindful awareness technique of noting and naming the thoughts and feelings that come up as you meditate,” Millana Snow, meditation teacher, energy healer, and founder of Wellness Official, told POPSUGAR.

“When your mind starts to go off into tangents, you can use mental noting to bring pause and awareness to those thoughts so that you can start to unidentify with them and become the observer of those thoughts and feelings.” If you find your mind wondering, make note of it — “I’m thinking about the big pitch I have on Friday” — then return to the present.

Every time my mind drifts and I find myself wondering what I’m going to eat later that day, thinking about how many clients I have to train, planning a trip to Colombia, combing my never-ending to-do list, and every other random thought that comes up, I revert back to mental noting. Some days, I have to do it a lot, but other days, I only have to do it once or twice during my practice.

If you’re already going, “Yeah, I still won’t be able to do this,” I promise you, you will. When I catch myself thinking about everything else instead of being in the present, I practice mental noting by focusing on my breath while thinking, “Breathing in, breathing out.” When Millana finds her mind drifting, she said she reminds herself to “‘come back to my breath’ or come back to noting what the moment contains: the sounds in the room, the smells, and the way my body feels. I find this helps me go deeper into awareness,” she explained.

The key word in “practice mental noting” is practice. “We must allow ourselves to be the observer of our thoughts, and to watch thoughts pass by like you would clouds in the sky,” Millana said. She also recommends noting and naming your thoughts “instead of identifying with them and making them distractions.” The key is to become more present and separate the thought from yourself.

If you gave up on your meditation practice before starting because you thought focus would be an issue, try introducing mental noting into your practice.

Eight years ago, I was three months into my grief journey when I participated in my first International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. My dad had just taken his life, two months after my wedding. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’ve come to appreciate the event’s proximity to the holiday season. November…

via International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day can be comforting heading into the holidays — Our Side of Suicide

15 Things To Avoid Doing When You’re Sleep Deprived, No Matter How Tired You Are

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If you missed a few hours of sleep, you’re definitely going to feel tired the next day. And with that fatigue will likely come all sorts of ideas for staying awake, such as guzzling caffeine, taking a long nap, or going to bed super early. But even though it all seems like a good idea when you’re tired, these are things you should avoid at all costs.

The only real cure for fatigue is getting a good night’s sleep, every single day. And that means creating a healthy sleep schedule, one night at a time. “Resetting your sleep schedule or establishing good sleep hygiene is a process and takes more than a few days,” licensed psychologist Nicole Issa, PsyD, tells Bustle.

And yet, the sooner you can start, the better. “It will begin with having a consistent wake up time and sticking to it,” she says. “Your bedtime will gradually shift to an earlier time to allow you to get enough rest.”

Creating a relaxing evening routine can come in handy, too, such as slowing down, putting away your phone, reading a book, and even getting ready for bed beforeyou’re tired. As Dr. Issa says, “That way you can just go to bed when you are ready and not get woken up by washing your face, brushing your teeth, etc.”

These are things you should do for good sleep, as opposed to the things listed below, which experts say you should try to avoid if you’re tired.

1. Drinking Tons Of Energy Drinks

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Even though they can give you a quick boost of energy, it’s not a good idea to load up on these drinks as a way to stay awake.

“[They] often have a lot of B vitamins, which can be stimulating, and then cause insomnia, which perpetuates the cycle of being tired and reaching for more energy drinks,” Catherine Darley, ND, from the The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, tells Bustle.

Instead, stick to one caffeinated drink in the morning, so it has plenty of time to wear off before bed, when you can officially catch up on your rest.

2. Taking A Nap

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If you can, try to resist the urge to take a nap. Or at least try to time it right.

“Avoid taking a nap longer than 30 minutes to ‘catch up,'” Doug Hale, a sleep expert from Brooklyn Bedding, tells Bustle. “Just as important, don’t take a nap late in the day as that will disrupt your normal sleep cycle, leading to insomnia at night.”

3. Going To Bed Super Early

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While it might be tempting to pass out the moment the sun goes down, try to stay awake as long as possible, or until your usual bedtime.

“Going to bed too early […] can result in what is essentially a long nap late in the evening,” Dr. Darley says, “which then causes the inability to sleep through the night.”

Do this, and you’ll likely wake up at 3 a.m., and be just as tired the next day.

4. Staying Inside

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When you’re tired, you might want to hide away from the blinding light of the sun. But stepping out can actually be a good thing.

“Get outside in bright sunlight for 20 minutes soon after getting up, then continue with light bursts of 10 minutes every couple hours,” Dr. Darley says. “Full spectrum light naturally increases alertness.” And that can help get you through the day.

5. Doing A Strenuous Workout

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“It might seem like a good idea to burn off energy in order to get a restful sleep, but working out later in the day can cause cortisol to spike which can prevent some people from being able to fall asleep,” health coach Rachel MacPherson tells Bustle. Instead, do your workout in the morning. Or skip it entirely until you’ve caught up on sleep.

6. Snacking To Stay Awake

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Fatigue can make you feel hungrier than normal, and lead to cravings for simple carbohydrates. And while that’s fine, keep in mind that eating sugary snacks can crash your blood sugar, and make you feel even worse. Instead, “eat a healthy balanced diet so your blood sugar levels remain steady,” Dr. Darley says.

7. Drinking A Night Cap

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A night cap may seem like a good idea, if you want to fall asleep faster. But if you want that deep sleep, you may want to stick with water.

“Alcohol interferes with your deep sleep cycles and REM cycles,” Jason Piper, a sleep and nutrition coach, tells Bustle. “These are the restorative phases we go through at night. Alcohol keeps you mainly in a light sleep phase.”

8. Cramming For A Test

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If you have a big test tomorrow, and plan to stay up all night studying, it may be smarter to just go to bed. “You may feel like you are making progress, but when you finally go to sleep and it is a short duration, you will miss out on a lot of your REM sleep,” Piper says. “REM sleep is when the brain moves short-term memories into long-term memory, so a lot of what you were studying becomes lost.”

9. Sleeping In

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Just like going to bed early, sleeping in always seems like a good idea in the moment. And yet, “it can shift [your] circadian rhythm for the day, making it harder to fall asleep at night,” Piper says.

Basically, sleeping in — even for just one hour past your usual wake time — throws off the timing of the sleep hormone, melatonin. It’s best to stick to your normal sleep and wake times, to help your body get back on track.

10. Eating Right Before Bed

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While it’s OK to have a light snack before bed, keep in mind that eating a big meal can make for a rough night.

“Your body needs to digest the food,” Piper says. “So it will raise your internal core [temperature] as it metabolizes the food and also will divert energy away from sleep to digesting the food.”

With all that going on, it’ll be hard for the body to slip into a deeper, more restorative sleep cycle, Piper says, and you’ll feel even more tired come morning.

11. Checking The Clock

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If you ever find yourself in bed, tired, and yet unable to fall asleep, do yourself a favor and avoid staring at the clock. Or worse, wondering when (or if) you’ll ever fall asleep.

“Doing this isn’t going to change anything,” Dr. Issa says. “In fact, it will only make you feel more anxious which will increase your physiological arousal and make it harder to fall asleep.”

12. Relaxing With Your Phone

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However tempting it may be, don’t lay in bed and scroll through you phone, as the “blue light from it will interfere with your ability to fall asleep,” Dr. Issa says. If you want to fall asleep easily, and wake feeling rested, avoiding electronics before bed will be key.

13. Willing Yourself To Sleep

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Have you ever had that moment where, despite how tired you feel, you just can’t fall asleep? When that happens, it’s actually best to get out of bed, instead of lying there wishing for sleep.

“Doing that will probably come with a lot of other thoughts about your lack of sleep,” Dr. Issa says, including anxiety about how tired you’ll feel the next day.

“Instead, get out of bed and take a break,” she says. “Get up and go in a different room until you start to naturally feel tired. Then go back into your bed.”

14. Making Important Decisions

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If a big decision can wait, do yourself a favor and wait. “Whether financial, relationship, or anything important, you would be much better off making that decision in the morning when your mind and body are fully rested,” Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck, tells Bustle. When you’re fatigued, you just won’t have the capacity to think clearly.

15. Soaking In A Hot Bath

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In order to fall asleep quickly, it may be a good idea to avoid warm showers and baths right before bed, and instead opt for a quick (and cool) rinse.

According to MacPherson, since your core body temperature drops at night in preparation for sleep, taking a hot bath can disrupt that cycle, increase your heart rate, and make it difficult to sleep.

Even though it often seems like a good idea, doing these things when you’re tired tends to be anything but helpful. The best and only way to feel less fatigued is to get a good night’s sleep, which includes sticking to a bedtime routine, and getting the right amount of rest every day.

The 2 Zodiac Signs Most Likely To Get Taken Advantage Of In Relationships

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Astrology can predict a lot about your relationships. Not just who you’re compatible with, but what kind of partner you are, and what your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses will be. And while astrology can give you an idea of what zodiac signs you’re compatible with, it can also serve as a warning sign. Astrology can alert you to the zodiac signs most likely to get taken advantage of in a relationship, for instance.

Some signs, like Gemini and Sagittarius, may constantly crave adventure in relationships, while others, like Libra and Taurus are more traditional romantics. Every zodiac sign is different in a relationship, and it can depend on factors like your ruling planet.

“Neptune [is] the planet of mystery, dissolution, confusion, fantasy, and sacrifice,” astrologer Cindy Mckean of Kansas City Astrology & Tarot LLC, tells Bustle. “Venus, the planet of love, also rules romance.”

Mckean says some of the most romantic signs are Libra, Taurus, and Leo. Libra and Taurus are romantics because they are ruled by Venus, and Leos are just in love with love.

But being too much of a romantic can lead to problems in a relationship. In every healthy relationship, boundaries are needed to prioritize your well-being. When you’re too invested in a relationship, others can take you for granted. These are the two zodiac signs most likely to get taken advantage of in a relationship.

1. Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)

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“Though it seems that the serious-minded, hard-working Capricorn is someone that can’t be taken advantage of, those traits are exactly the reason they can be taken advantage of in relationships,” Mckean says. “Sometimes Capricorn can turn their relationships into a job as they are willing to do favors and tasks for their partner in return for the carrot at the end of the stick. It may take a Capricorn a long time to come to their senses that the carrot isn’t really meant for them.”

Mckean says this effort put into relationships is why it takes a long time for Capricorns to recover from broken hearts, and why they may hold a grudge against that partner for years. Capricorns should remember that relationships are all about give and take. You don’t have to constantly go out of your way to make your partner happy, especially if they wouldn’t do the same for you.

2. Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)

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“Ruled by Neptune, Pisces are a naturally romantic and passive sign,” Mckean says. “As a mutable sign, they are willing to bend over backwards for the one they love and accommodate in any way for their partner’s success and happiness. Unfortunately, this sometimes means they can easily be taken advantage of without seeing it as their planetary ruler tends to fog their perspective.”

Although it’s natural to look back with regret, being romantic shouldn’t be looked at as a negative. Mckean says Pisces are resilient, and will recover from their heartbreak quickly.

If you fall in love easily, all hope is not lost. You may have to be more careful when it comes to recognizing what healthy relationships look like, but you don’t have to give up on love all together. Identifying what you want in a partner and making your happiness a priority can help you find the right relationship.

8 Reasons Why Your Depression May Not Be Getting Better

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You’ve been to four psychiatrists and tried over a dozen medication combinations. You still wake up with that dreadful knot in your stomach and wonder if you will ever feel better.

Some people enjoy a straight path to remission. They get diagnosed. They get a prescription. They feel better. Others’ road to recovery isn’t so linear. It’s full of winding bends and dead-ends. Sometimes it’s entirely blocked. By what? Here are a few impediments to treatment to consider if your symptoms aren’t improving.

1. The Wrong Care

Take it from the Goldilocks of mental health. I worked with six physicians and tried 23 medication combinations before I found the right psychiatrist who has kept me (relatively) well for the last 13 years. If you have a complex disorder like I do, you can’t afford to work with the wrong doctor. I would highly recommend that you schedule a consultation with a mood disorders center at a teaching hospital near you. The National Network of Depression Centers lists 22 Centers of Excellence located across the country. Start there.

2. The Wrong Diagnosis

According to the Johns Hopkins Depression & Anxiety Bulletin, the average patient with bipolar disorder takes approximately 10 years to receive the proper diagnosis. About 56 percent are first diagnosed incorrectly with major depressive disorder, leading to treatment with antidepressantsalone, which can sometimes trigger mania.

In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, only 40 percent of participants were receiving appropriate medication. It’s pretty simple: if you’re not diagnosed correctly, you won’t get the proper treatment.

3. Non-adherence to Medication

According to Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and author of An Unquiet Mind, “The major clinical problem in treating bipolar illness is not that we lack effective medications. It is that bipolar patients do not take these medications.” Approximately 40 to 45 percent of bipolar patients do not take their medications as prescribed. I’m guessing the numbers for other mood disorders are about that high. The primary reasons for non-adherence are living alone and substance abuse.

Before you make any major changes in your treatment plan, ask yourself if you are taking your meds as prescribed.

4. Underlying Medical Conditions

The physical and emotional toll of chronic illness can muddy the progress of treatment from a mood disorder. Some conditions like Parkinson’s disease or a stroke alter brain chemistry. Others like arthritis or diabetes impact sleep, appetite, and functionality. Certain conditions like hypothyroidism, low blood sugar, vitamin D deficiency, and dehydration feel like depression. To further complicate matters, some medications to treat chronic conditions interfere with psych meds.

Sometimes you need to work with an internist or primary care physician to address the underlying condition in tandem with a mental health professional.

5. Substance Abuse and Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people who are addicted to drugs are approximately twice as likely to have mood and anxiety disorders and vice versa. About 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, also have a substance abuse disorder, and about 20 percent of those with a substance abuse problem also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

The depression-addiction link is both strong and detrimental because one condition often complicates and worsens the other. Some drugs and substances interfere with the absorption of psych meds, preventing proper treatment.

6. Lack of Sleep

In a Johns Hopkins survey, 80 percent of people experiencing symptoms of depression also suffered from sleeplessness. The more severe the depression, the more likely the person will have sleep problems. The reverse is also true. Chronic insomnia creates a risk for developing depression and other mood disorders, including anxiety, and interferes with treatment. In persons with bipolar disorder, inadequate sleep can trigger a manic episode and mood cycling.

Sleep is critical to healing. When we rest, the brain forms new pathways that promote emotional resilience.

7. Unresolved Trauma

One theory of depression suggests that any major disruption early in life, like trauma, abuse, or neglect, may contribute to permanent changes in the brain. According to psychiatric geneticist James Potash, M.D., stress can trigger a cascade of steroid hormones that likely alters the hippocampus and leads to depression.

Trauma partly explains why one-third of people with depression don’t respond to antidepressants. In a study recently published in Scientific Reports, researchers uncovered three subtypes of depression. Patients with increased functional connectivity between different brain regions who had also experienced childhood trauma were categorized with a subtype of depression that was unresponsive to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac. Sometimes, then, intensive psychotherapy needs to happen alongside medical treatment in order to reach remission.

8. Lack of Support

review of studies published in General Hospital Psychiatry assessed the link between peer support and depression and found that peer support helped reduce symptoms of depression. In another study published by Preventive Medicine, teens who had social support were significantly less likely to become depressed after experiencing work or financial stress in early adulthood than those without support. Depression was identified among conditions affected by loneliness in a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health. Persons without a support network may not heal as quickly or as completely as those with one.