The meaning of dreaming

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Teeth falling out your mouth and stumbling walks...what can our dreams tell us about ourselves? And how can we learn to interpret them?

The meaning of dreaming

Human’s have been searching for the meaning of dreams for a very, very long time. In fact, the Babylonian Dream Tablet offers a series of dream interpretations – including “If he carries beer in the street his heart will be glad. If he carries water in the street his sins will be forgiven” – and dates all the way back to about the 15th century B.C. Beyond that, dreams appear in everything from myths to religious texts, literature, art, and psychology, as for millennia people have tried to figure out what our nighttime creations were trying to tell us.

The latest science has some theories. In a 2021 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, results found that 53.5% of dreams were traced back to a memory, and nearly 50% of reports with a memory source were connected to multiple past experiences. What’s more, the study also found that 25.7% of dreams were related to specific impending events, and 37.4% of dreams about the future were also related to one or more memories of past experiences.

With that in mind, what can these dreams tell us about ourselves, and our wellbeing? Here are some clues…

A window to our minds

“I believe dreams offer us a little window into the mysteries of the psyche and subconscious mind,” says Rhian Kivits, a psychodynamic therapist and sex and relationship expert. “What’s normally unseen is able to be seen, in such a fascinating and vibrant way. I believe that when we remember our dreams, there may be something powerful to be learned from their signs and symbols through dream analysis. Perhaps a wise inner part of ourselves is speaking? If this is the case, it feels important to me to listen.”

Rhian points to how our dreams can help us to process things, something that tends to occur in REM sleep, where we have our most vivid dreams. During this time, the region of the brain responsible for functions including self-awareness, inhibition, and emotional control – known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – closes down. The result is a period of time where our emotions can be explored without boundaries.

“I believe dreams help us work through and organise information about past memories and present situations that we may not have the capacity to consciously or fully process in our busy, waking lives,” Rhian explains.

“Since they can be highly detailed, colourful, and packed with emotion, dreams can make an intense impression upon us. I’ve certainly noticed that I can relate aspects of my own dreams to dilemmas in my life in an extremely helpful way. Although science can’t confirm exactly why we dream or what our dreams mean, clients who share my belief that dreams have meaning find dream analysis supportive.”

The meaning of dreaming

Catch feelings

When it comes to dream interpretation, there’s no rule book that can tell you a definitive answer. Instead, Rhian suggests that you should consider the feeling of the dream, and what that might tell you about your current wellbeing.

“For example, if you feel happy and excited during the dream, then I believe it could be offering a positive message of hope and expectation,” she says. “If you feel desperate and sad, perhaps youȁ

10 Spa Cuisine Recipes

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Searching for spa cuisine recipes? These fresh recipes, loaded with colorful veggies and lean protein, are busting with flavor and nutrition to help you feel good and glowy sans an expensive trip to the spa. 

Hi friends! I hope you’re enjoying the week so far. Today is day 3 of the Dr. Cabral detox (use FITNESSISTA20 if you want to do this at your own time!), and I’m feeling amazing. It was just the little boost and reset I’ve been craving, and I’ve slept so well the past two nights.

For today’s post, I wanted to talk a bit about spa cuisine, since I’m focusing on extra flavorful and fresh eats the next week. Spa cuisine is typically made up of fresh, local, seasonal, or organic ingredients that are presented in a simple yet colorful way. They tend to focus on quality rather than quantity, and are not only nutrient-dense but are packed with flavors. You’ll often see lots of fresh produce, herbs, and citrus in spa meals. Today, I’m sharing a roundup of spa cuisine recipes that you can easily recreate anytime.

Many of these recipes are also gluten-free and dairy-free. 

10 Spa Cuisine Recipes

1. Winter Spa Salad with Lemon Chicken via Pinch of Yum

Winter Spa Salad with Lemon Chicken! Loaded with chickpeas, spinach, pomegranates, Cara Cara oranges, avocado, shallots, herbs, dressing, and lemon chicken.

Spa Cuisine Recipes

2. Thai Cauliflower Rice Salad With Peanut Butter Sauce via The Awesome Green

An exotic and colorful combination, which replaces the rice with the nutrient-loaded cauliflower. The secret of this dish is a delicious ginger-peanut butter sauce.

Spa Cuisine Recipes

3. Healthy Chicken Quinoa Beet Bowls with Herb Gremolata via Aberdeen’s Kitchen

Healthy chicken quinoa beet bowls with herb gremolata – Clean eating, healthy living, and a tasty recipe all in one bowl! Tons of protein, nutrients, and even some vitamin C to keep you going, topped with a fresh herb gremolata.

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10 ways to look after your mental health in winter

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As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, we explore some simple ways to take care of yourself this winter

10 ways to look after your mental health in winter

For some, a change in season can bring about a certain energy. It may be excitement as we watch nature shift outside our window, or perhaps joy about what’s to come this season. For others, however, a change in season can invite a particular sense of dread.

Autumn and winter specifically can spark a low mood, as the bright light and warmth of summer drains away. In some cases, this switch can be severe, leading to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you can relate to a struggle in colder months, we’ve got 10 ideas to help you support your mental health.

1. Light up your life

Daylight can have a big impact on our mood and our circadian rhythms (affecting how we sleep). So, to give your mood a helping hand, try to ensure you expose yourself to daylight daily. Ideally, this would look like getting outside in the middle of the day, even if it’s just to stand for a few minutes looking up at the sky.

If this isn’t possible, head to a window or consider investing in a SAD lamp. You might also find it helpful to get some cosy low-lighting going in the evenings, to help you feel settled and safe in your environment.

2. Stay active

While it’s incredibly tempting to hibernate over winter and spend the majority of your time under a blanket (ideally with snacks), this likely isn’t going to help your mood. Staying active can encourage those wonderful feel-good hormones, endorphins, which boost your mood and can even ease pain.

The trick is to find something you enjoy and something that is accessible to you. This may mean heading out for a walk, doing some gentle stretches in front of the fire or hitting the gym. We’re all different, so find what works for you and what makes you smile.

Bonus tip: if you plan to do some walking this winter, invest in shoes with a good grip to avoid slipping on any ice. 

3. Connect with nature

It’s been well-documented that nature has a positive effect on our mental health, and winter can provide a wonderful opportunity to reconnect. As the seasons change, so does the outside world, so why not head out with a notebook to do some nature journaling? Write about what you see, draw some sketches, and ask yourself what emotions it sparks.

If being outside a lot isn’t accessible to you, try to bring nature in. Look into indoor plants, enjoy some bird watching from your window, and pop on some David Attenborough.

4. Keep cosy and warm

This winter more than others may feel especially difficult, with some of us avoiding putting the heating on to avoid skyrocketing bills. Whether this is you, or you simply struggle in colder weather, it can have a real impact on your mood.

Staying as warm as possible can help. Simple steps like wearing thicker jumpers and socks can make a difference. Hot water bottles, electric blankets and plenty of hot drinks can also help.

5. Embrace hygge

The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is something more and more of us are trying to adopt. Referring to moments that

Chocolate Chip Blondies

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Chocolate Chip Blondies with the texture of a brownie and loaded with chocolate chips and pecans have become a favorite treat.

stack of blondies with pecans and chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Blondies

These bars are my immediate thought when I haven’t planned dessert in advance or when we have unexpected company. The brownie-like bite with a soft chewy center and crispy browned edges are always a crowd-pleaser.

Brownies get their flavor from cocoa powder and chocolate. Their close cousin the blondie gets its flavor from brown sugar and vanilla. Brown sugar and butter are a rich backdrop to the chocolate chips and pecans.

I often find myself making blondies when I need a quick treat to take to an event or a snack when the kids have friends over. The easy batter mixes quickly and baking them in one pan instead of sheet after sheet of cookies is so handy.

Using this as your base recipe you can create all sorts of versions from what you have on hand. Dried fruit, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, other nuts, and coconut. The possibilities are endless.

I’ve been making this recipe for years now and we all love it. When I started adapting it for gluten-free flours, I played with a few different options. You could also use a store-bought gluten-free blend in a 1:1 scenario.

The combination of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch works extremely well in this recipe. This is my favorite version and I’ve made these at least six times now. I made a triple batch for a recent trip and they were a huge hit.

Check out all of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website!

blondies with chocolate chips and pecans stacked on a plate

Chocolate Chip Blondie Recipe

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Understanding grief: a guide to helping a loved one through bereavement

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While it’s inevitable, discussions around death can be taboo. Here, our expert columnist Bhavna explores the ways grief can enter the rich tapestry of life

Understanding grief: a guide to helping a loved one through bereavement

Grief is a curious thing. It invites us, sometimes against our will, to visit an internal world that leaves us shaken, staggered, broken, and bereft. It appears in our life unannounced, even at times when we know it is imminent – the end of a relationship, or through a terminal illness. Grief doesn’t always relate to death as a finality, but is a beacon that points at a loss that can feel just as devastating.

We know grief exists, but we rarely prepare ourselves to experience it. Grief is inevitable and natural. It hurts, which is normal. How much it hurts depends on how deeply we were affected by the person who died. It is also impacted by our relationship to ourselves – how well are we prepared to deal with a loss or death?

Grief can present itself in many guises and point to an end. It could be in relationships – perhaps the end of intimacy, or one partner coming out, or one partner having an affair. Or it might be at the end of a job – through a promotion, demotion, or complete end even when through choice, as a resignation. Perhaps it’s the end of an era of our lives – moving from one decade into another, leaving home, ending a friendship, or losing a pet. The loss of health perhaps is a great cause of grief, the loss of independence and autonomy, of relying on others. Grief can also come about through regret about missed opportunities, chances not taken, choices not made.

Of course the final ending is one through death. This is absolute, and leaves us in many states. We go through phases as we navigate a loss, anger, shock, numbness, denial, bargaining with a higher power, and finally acceptance.

There are different kinds of death – natural, expected, unexpected, sudden, suicide, murder, or accident for example – and will significantly impact how we are able to process our reactions and affect the duration of our recovery from grief.

Recovery is informed and affected by the level of support we have from friends, family, and professional or pastoral services. Most people will gradually come back from the depths of grief as they gain some distance through the passage of time. While there isn’t an exact timeframe for recovery, most people are generally able to return to some level of normality within months, some within years. Some, however, will struggle, become stuck in their grief, which then becomes chronic and debilitating. For some, it may be that they are not able to grieve at the time, thus delaying the grief. This may cause an increase in feelings of distancing from others and from day-to-day life and deep depression. For others, grief can be delayed indefinitely, for example in cases of murder or suicide, or where there is no body.

So how can we help someone who is bereaved? The greatest gift is that of time. It is normal for everyone to offer support and be available in the immediate days after a loss. However, while that helps hugely, it is during the time after the funeral when everyone goes back to their ‘normal’ that the bereaved most need support. As the dust a