Why You Should Look Forward To Your Next Rainy Day

Why You Should Look Forward To Your Next Rainy Day

A rainy day is a perfect time for reflection.

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Despite the fact that the Northern part of America is currently in single digit temperatures, let's think about spring for a second. Reading this article may be therapeutic for y'all out there that are suffering through the brutal cold and slush and sleet (yuck!).

With spring comes rainy days. I'm not referring to days-on-end torrents that flood the yard, back up the swimming pool and overflow drainage ditches, but just your typical spring showers. There are many reasons I like the rain and here are 10 reasons why I'm excited for spring, excited for the rain, and excited to be done with this freezing cold weather.

1. Everybody must deal with it.

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Seriously, there's a natural tendency to wish the rain would cease so life can get back to normal, yet there's logic in the realization that everybody is in the same situation of having to deal with the weather. That's not only comforting to me, it also has a calming effect, knowing that my peers are experiencing the "what-do-I-do-now" dilemma. This universality makes me feel closer with others in my community and social sphere.

2. Perfect weather for laundry.

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Rainy weather can make the house or apartment cold and damp. Besides the familiar aroma of laundry detergents and fabric softeners and the hum of the washer and dryer as loads of clothes, linens and towels go from dirty to clean, the household chore of doing laundry makes the home environment feel more welcoming. It certainly warms it up, plus there's the satisfaction of all those clean, freshly laundered items.

3. Rain gives a much-needed breather.

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Ever feel like you can't seem to catch your breath because you're overcome by chronic stress and too much to do? I know this feeling well, having saddled myself with more than I could handle on many occasions. Now, of course, I know better and have learned to only take on what is reasonable and that I feel I can give full effort. Still, a constant patter of rain serves to remind me to take a break, to stop the whirlwind of activity I am sometimes prone to. After all, all plants and living things need rest to recharge, refresh and revitalize.

4. A rainy day is a perfect time for reflection.

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No time for yourself to pause and reflect on life's bounties? Use rain as a welcome sign to do just that. Think about all the good in your life and be grateful for all that you have. This practice has proven especially helpful to me in overcoming periodic bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. So, I know it works. Whether you use the time to meditate, do yoga or simply sit quietly and allow your thoughts to wash over you, this is a productive mental health behavior you can not only cultivate, but thrive doing – even when it's not raining.

5. Watch a movie without feeling guilty.

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The wonderful thing about video on demand, DVRs, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other such services is that you have ready access to many genres of movies. If you've missed one in the theaters or have an old favorite you want to see again, or an episode of reality TV, make a bowl of hot popcorn and relax while it rains outside, and you watch the movie of your choice without any guilt whatsoever. Watching movies also allows you to vicariously participate in situations you'd not normally experience, broadening your imagination and scope of capabilities and reinforcing a sense of self-control, mastery and ingenuity.

6. I can talk for as long as I want with a friend.

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Surely there's a friend you can call and connect with during the downtime when you're not going to venture out in the rain or you're taking a break from some household, work or other chores, project or activity. If you're like me, there's something encouraging about the steady stream of rain hitting the windows that prompts me to engage in a lengthy phone call with a friend. That's assuming, of course, that the friend I'm calling has or will make the time to converse. Yet, even if the call must be cut short, I've still connected with my friend. We both feel good about the interaction, no matter what the length of the call.

7. There's ample time to devour an intriguing book.

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I always have several books and magazines I'm either in the process of reading or intending to get started on. The tough part is finding an hour or so to immerse myself in reading. Either too many other chores or projects lay claim to my time or I can't keep my eyes open long enough at night to make much headway. With hours of drenching downpour outside, however, if I don't have to fight traffic to get to and from work (I don't), I can sit back in my favorite chair and lose myself in my book-du-jour. I generally feel more creative afterward, another plus.

8. With free, fast delivery, I can get what I need through online shopping.

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Not that I mind heading out to the grocery store for a last-minute item for meal prep or even weekly shopping for the family. I am one of those shoppers who enjoys shopping for the best deals, going to certain stores for sale items or organic produce or specialty carry-out. If the rain puts a crimp in my grocery-store plans, there's always online shopping. Speedy, free delivery takes all the inconvenience out of the equation. Now, I've freed up my rainy-day time to prioritize self-care and devote to something else I'd rather do.

9. Spend face-to-face time with loved ones and family.

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While you're not always going to be home when the rains come, when you are and if everyone's staying put, why not use this propitious time to play board games, whip up a family meal, talk about sports, watch sports, tell jokes, reflect on goals and spell out plans? Give everyone an opportunity to speak their mind, encouraging open and positive conversation. Be sure to acknowledge each person as they speak, looking at them directly, not interrupting. When it's your turn, share some good news, reiterate a point or two that other family members and loved ones made, and be grateful for this family time you spend together.

10. Wonderful opportunity to make weekend, getaway or vacation plans.

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When the family asks what the plans are for our next getaway, weekend or vacation trip, instead of feeling overwhelmed and panic-stricken that nothing's been accomplished, a rainy day provides a nice opportunity to take the plunge and begin research, make reservations and line up activities. Even if I only get started on the planning, I'm one step closer to the goal. That makes me feel like I accomplished something worthwhile – and gives me something to look forward to sharing with others.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day That Will Actually Help the Environment

Earth day is upon us, here's how you can celebrate by making a difference!

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With Earth Day approaching you're bound to see a million posts and ads celebrating Earth Day. It's okay to celebrate the earth and appreciate her on earth day, but the best way to celebrate her is to help her! Instead of resharing an article on Facebook, or taking a walk in the park, which are both still valid ways of appreciating our earth, try one, or all of these seven tips to give the earth the happiest earth day she can have!

Go Vegan/Vegetarian

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Meat and dairy account for one fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions annually, that's more than the entire transportation system combined! Cutting meat out of your diet helps eliminate thousands of gallons of water, pounds of grain, and emissions from your environmental impact. Start by eliminating meat from your diet once a week ("meatless mondays" for example"), or skip the beef and steak next time you go out to eat. Cows have the biggest impact in the agricultural system overall, so try only consuming white meat and save the steaks for special occasions. Meat does not have to be the center of every meal and there a plenty of cheap, easy, and tasty vegetarian or vegan meals that can be prepared at home.

Cut Back Your Plastic Use

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Plastic waste affects more than just the sea turtles. Around 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced globally each year, and this waste ends up in our oceans, and our backyards. Plastic waste not only severely impacts sea life, it can even affect us. When plastic breaks down in the ocean it eventually becomes miniscule microplastics which are consumed by fish and marine animals who think it's food. When we catch at eat marine life we also end up consuming these microplastics which, besides being downright gross, is actually harmful to our health. Start by bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store, and using reusable water bottles and mugs when consuming liquids. This will already dramatically reduce your plastic waste and can also end up saving you a bit of money in the long run. Be aware of how much plastic you are consuming on a daily basis and make an active effort to buy products that are not packaged in plastic. Try preparing food at home from bulk ingredients instead of buying prepackaged meals, and bring glass jars and reusable bags to the grocery store if they offer a bulk section. You don't need to buy a bunch of fancy reusable items to reduce your waste, start by just reducing your consumption overall.

Go Thrifting (Stop Shopping Online)

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Fast fashion is killing our planet, and every trip to H&M and Forever 21 is only making it worse. Companies that stay on top of trends and manage to sell them to you for only $5 a shirt are not doing it sustainably, no matter what they try to tell you. Fast fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world, second only to oil. Clothing companies not only use extremely environmentally harmful production practices, but to keep sales up, make clothes cheaply and poorly in order to compel you to continuously buy new clothes. Worn clothing that is not donated ends up in landfills and becomes waste almost as quickly as the next seasons trend is being produced. Thrifting will not only find you cheap clothing, it will also find you quality clothing, with zero of the environmental impact. Most thrifted clothing is older and thus is made more durable than modern brands. Not only that, but vintage clothes are coming back into style. Instead of buying new clothes that look old, buy old clothes that are stylish and quality. Before you go and spend $300 on thrifted clothing however, focus on rearranging your wardrobe to create new outfits. Reducing your clothing consumption overall will dramatically decrease your environmental footprint and keep the clothing out of landfills.

Start Composting

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If you have a kitchen in your house or apartment, start a compost bin! About one third of food produced in the United States ends up as waste. When you throw out banana peels and apple core, even though they are biodegradable, they will end up in a landfill where they cannot give their nutrients back to the earth. Set up a compost bin in your kitchen where you can put your food scraps, as well as your paper towels and napkins. Change it out once a week or more to prevent it from smelling. You can then use the compost to start a compost pile in your backyard, or bring it to a composting site. Natural compost is great for fertilizing a garden or yard.

Speaking Of Gardens, Start One!

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Planting more plants will not only make the environment happy, it will make you happy too! Try starting a flower garden or veggie garden this spring and watch it grow and blossom over the summer. Use natural compost to fertilize it, and try to collect rainwater or greywater for irrigation. Gardens will not only give you something to care for during the summer months, it will also give bugs and bees a new home! Bees are essential to our ecosystem and are suffering the impacts of climate change and urbanization. Plant bee friendly flowers around your garden and create a bee-friendly habitat. In the return, the bees will pollinate your plants and allow your garden to continue returning every spring!

Clean Up Litter Around Your Neighborhood

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Litter not only is unsightly, it's also unhealthy for an ecosystem. Small animals might accidentally consume plastics thinking its food, and plastic chemicals can runoff of litter and enter local water streams. Take some friends with you on a summer hike or to the beach with some gloves and bags and get to work! Make a game out of it and see who can clean up the most litter in an hour, or make it a race for who can clean their area the quickest. You'll be surprised how much better an area will look once the garbage has been cleared, and the ecosystem will thank you!

Talk to your politicians

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Our power to help the environment not only lies in our own hands, but also in the hands of our leaders. Legislation is one of the most effective ways to create permanent tangible change in your community, and you can impact it! Get educated about what environmental bills are being worked on, and talk to your representatives and senators about them. If there is a plastic bag ban or a solar energy resolution being contested in your local government, call or email your local politicians and lend them your support. Tell your politicians that this is what you want, it's their job to listen to you! Attend local green events, protests, and educational programs and make a stir in your community about green action. We can fight climate change individually, but to truly win the fight, we need to work collectively.

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