If your pets sleep in your bed with you, there’s a higher chance you’ll end up with outside invaders in your bed. “Dogs bringing in ticks [which then attach] to owners is a very real and not uncommon situation,” Dr. Russo says. “Likewise, cats go outside and may hunt and kill other animals with potentially dangerous infections, like tularemia, and can infect owners.” Allergens—particularly dust mites—are the biggest cause for concern.While bacteria and sweat aren’t likely to build up enough to make you sick, dust mites sure can. Obviously, not everyone is allergic to dust mites, but if you are, it’s more important to regularly clean your sheets and comforter.“The most common types of allergens found in mattress and pillows and comforters and blankets are dust mites,” Denisa E. Ferastraoaru, MD, assistant professor of medicine in allergy and immunology and attending physician at Einstein/Montefiore and Jacobi Medical Centers, tells SELF. “Dust mites are small, little creatures. They live wherever we live because they feed on our skin flakes.” And they’re most commonly found in the bedroom, she adds.It’s sort of impossible to rid your bedroom of dust mites—everybody has them, no matter how clean you keep the house, says Dr. Ferastraoaru.Other allergens can linger on your comforter, too. If you sit on your bed in your outside clothes, you can transfer things like pollen, grass, and ragweed onto your comforter. And if your dog or cat is running around outside and then sleeping in your bed, they can drag in these seasonal allergens, too. This may cause problems for you, depending on how sensitive you are, Dr. Steele says.How often should you wash your comforter then? You should generally aim to wash your comforter once a week. There are some logistical challenges that make it difficult to wash a large, bulky comforter this often, which is typically what experts recommend to keep linens fresh and minimize allergens. Another option: Slip your comforter into an allergy-proof cover, and wash that once a week, Ryan Steele, DO, board-certified allergist-immunologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at Yale School of Medicine, tells SELF. “Adding an allergy cover, which might also be called a dust mite cover, will add an extra layer of protection to lock in dust mites and reduce the number of allergens,” Dr. Steele says.These covers work by basically locking dust mites inside the comforter so that they can’t get out and be inhaled, Dr. Ferastraoaru explains. “The fabric is very tight and will not let dust mites and dust mite allergens through.” Even better: If you’re in the market for a new comforter, put an allergy cover on it before you use it the first time to prevent dust mites from getting inside in the first place, she says.Dr. Steele recommends washing your sheets and all covers, including pillow and comforter covers, once a week on the hottest setting possible to reduce the number of allergens. If you have seasonal allergies, use the dryer. “A lot of people like to get that fresh scent on linens by drying them on the outside clothesline. That may be great for the smell, but that is a giant pollen trap,” Dr. Steele says. “Using the dryer is going to help reduce the load of the allergens.”If your allergies are acting up despite regularly washing your sheets and comforter cover, you may need to kick your pet out of the bed, Dr. Steele says. It could be a difficult transition if you’re both used to cuddling all night, but you’ll ultimately sleep more soundly if you eliminate all potential sources of allergens. No matter who’s in bed with you, it’s worth it to keep things clean.Related:
Supermodel and mom of three Ashley Graham shared a series of photos of her postpartum hair loss on Instagram this week. In the caption, the 35-year-old joked, “I mean at least it’s growing #postpartumhairloss.”This isn’t the first time Graham has been open about the effects of pregnancy on her body. She’s been vocal about how being a mom has changed her since her first child was born in 2020. In January 2022, she gave birth to twins, and she’s documented her postpartum experience on Instagram throughout this year.In June, Graham shared a video of herself modeling underwear and wrote in the caption, “Posting this video for all the mamas who haven’t and may never ‘bounce back’ and for anyone who needs to be reminded that your body is beautiful in its realest form. This is my strong, five-month-postpartum-been-pregnant-for-two-years body. As it is. In hopes to further normalize ALL bodies in every and any stage of life.” Graham has also talked about relying on disposable underwear after giving birth the first time: In a February 2020 post, she shared a photo of herself wearing them with the caption, “Raise your hand if you didn’t know you’d be changing your own diapers too…No one talks about the recovery and healing (yes even the messy parts) new moms go through. I wanted to show you guys that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies!”Instagram contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Now, Graham is keeping it real about yet another unexpected change that can happen to the body after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is completely normal after having a baby, per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). This happens as a result of falling estrogen levels. Unfortunately, it can be more intense than a few fallen strands here and there. Per the Cleveland Clinic, it’s not unusual to notice “handfuls” of hair coming out in the shower. It usually starts one to six months after giving birth, and it can last for 18 months, but it can come back sooner. Per the AAD, most people see their hair return to “normal” during their first year postpartum. The good news is, we’re not talking about permanent hair loss. It’s only temporary, which is why dermatologists actually refer to postpartum hair loss as “excessive hair shedding.” Furthermore, you don’t need to do anything to stimulate hair growth—it’ll come back on its own, per the AAD.
You’ve certainly heard this advice before: Always pee before you leave home. These seemingly wise words, often drilled into us as children, are meant to help us avoid smelly rest stops and that awkward moment when you rush into a store to ask if they have a bathroom, only to be turned away.But even if you followed this recommendation consistently, you may experience a frustrating phenomenon: You still need to pee while you’re out and about. You might even have to pee more than once or have trouble holding it in. So what gives? Here’s the gist: By forcing yourself to pee before you head to your next destination, you’re probably achieving the exact opposite of what you’d hoped for. What happens when you habitually pee without the urge?First, some anatomy 101: The bladder is a very flexible organ, like a balloon. It has really stretchy muscle fibers. This means you shouldn’t hold in your pee for too long, because your bladder may start to stretch out and have trouble bouncing back, like a big floppy balloon. On the flip side, one of the reasons you shouldn’t pee when you don’t need to is that you can build up muscle in the organ, which stiffens the bladder wall. Both of these habits can lead to issues emptying your bladder down the road.However, the brain controls every bodily process, including urination, according to Victoria Handa, MD, MHS, the director of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “There’s absolutely a mental component to needing to pee,” Dr. Handa tells SELF. (If you’ve ever been hit by a bout of nerves and felt a subsequent urge to use the bathroom, you know what we’re talking about.) Thanks to this mental association, peeing if you don’t have the urge may actually prime (and train) your brain and bladder to go more frequently.“The connection between the brain and the bladder—how and when and why the bladder sends its ‘I’m full’ signal to the brain—is complicated, but in short, the bladder is a very trainable organ,” Lauren E. Stewart, MD, an ob-gyn who specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery and an assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, tells SELF. Over time, Dr. Stewart explains, if you continue to pee before your bladder is actually full, it may learn that it should empty itself when there’s less inside. “This means that you’ll be urinating more frequently since your bladder thinks it cannot hold as much,” she says. Also, know that the bladder can hold quite a bit of urine: Research1 suggests people with vaginas can store up to 500 milliliters of urine—or about two cups—in their bladders; if you fall into this camp, you’ll probably feel the urge to pee when the bladder has between 200 and 350 milliliters of pee in it.So before you head to the bathroom, you might want to make sure that you actually need to pee so you’re not sending your bladder mixed messages. Of course, there’s no need to stress over this too much either; you won’t instantly train your bladder to go all the time by partaking in a precautionary pee every so often. “Generally speaking, the bladder takes time to learn (and unlearn) these behaviors,” Dr. Stewart says. How can you tell if you’re peeing too often?There’s the “just in case” pee before you leave the house, and then there’s peeing too much in general. Because peeing is so psychological—in other words, you can talk yourself into needing to go—it can be hard to tell when it’s necessary to see a doctor about urinary frequency (needing to pee often), overactive bladder (the urge to pee suddenly), or even stress incontinence (when some form of pressure causes urine leakage, rushing you to the bathroom).
It can be tough to squeeze in a quality workout when you’re strapped for time and have limited fitness equipment. But if you have a full-body resistance band workout in your arsenal, you can actually accomplish a whole lot.Resistance bands are a very effective piece of equipment, certified personal trainer Alicia Jamison, MA, coach at Bodyspace Fitness in New York City, tells SELF. Due to their lightweight, compact size, they’re “perfect for travel,” she adds, making them a no-brainer addition to your suitcase.Moreover, when you use resistance bands, you have the unique ability to increase the load by simply stretching the band. The more you stretch the band, the heavier the resistance becomes, and vice versa. This means resistance bands provide “a lot more variability in your load” compared to free weights like kettlebells, dumbbells, or sandbags, where each weight is fixed and you’d have to pick up a different weight in order to adjust the load, explains Jamison. That makes resistance bands a really versatile tool—yet another reason to pack them along the next time you head out of town.Curious to experience the awesomeness of resistance bands yourself? Try the below four-move workout that Jamison created for SELF. This routine is fast (it’ll take you 12 minutes or less to complete!) and effective, thanks to the combination of moves that smokes your entire body. First, you’ll work the back of your upper body with the pull-apart and then the back of your lower body with the deadlift. Next, you’ll engage the front side of your upper body with the overhead press, as well as the front side of your lower body (as well as some backside muscles too) with the sumo squat.By alternating between upper body and lower body exercises, each muscle group gets some time to recover while your body is still working on the other. That’s why you’re able to get a whole lot of work done in not so much time.This workout is designed to focus on strength, says Jamison, though you could always ramp up the pace at which you perform the moves (so long as you keep good form) to make it more of a cardio-oriented routine. Alternatively, if you want to amp up the strength challenge, you can slow your pace and increase the amount of time your muscles are under tension, specifically by holding for a few seconds when your muscles are in their most contracted position, says Jamison. In the pull- apart, for instance, this would mean pausing when your arms are fully extended to the sides.In terms of frequency, you can do this routine as often as two to four days a week, says Jamison, who recommends waiting a day in between sessions to ensure your body has enough time to recover.Before you get started with this routine, do a brief warm-up to help properly prime your body. Spending one or two minutes in the world’s greatest stretch is all you need, says Jamison.
Do you want to spend $1,000 total? $200? Whatever the number is, write it down or put it in a notes app on your phone and work backward from there. If you need to buy eight gifts and have $240 to do it, each gift limit is $30. Or maybe you want to spend a little more on some people than others—as long as the math works out, you’re good. Once you’re out of that money, you can either say “no” to more gift-giving (try something like, “I’m sadly maxed out on secret Santas, but maybe next year!” or “I have to opt out of the gift exchange, but thank you for including me!”) or go the DIY route. Can you whip up a mean batch of peanut butter cookies? Do that! Are you a painter with a penchant for tiny watercolors? Consider gifting your personal creations instead.Consider gifting everyone on your list the same thing.You don’t have to buy each of your friends and family members a major present à la Oprah, but giving everyone something from the heart (that also fits in your budget) can help you avoid overspending by cutting down on decision fatigue. We can only make so many decisions throughout the day (what to eat, wear, buy, etc.) before we start to get emotionally exhausted, which makes decision-making harder—and, in my experience, can increase the likelihood of purchasing something you regret. So rather than trying to rack your brain for the perfect gift for your great aunt, ask yourself, “What did I spend money on this year that brought me joy?” A neighborhood friend of mine started doing this a few years back. Instead of gifting a bunch of different items, she buys her year’s favorite purchase in bulk and gives it along with a note about why she loves it. Over the years, her thoughtful gifts have ranged from these $5 exfoliating shower gloves to this Michigan-grown biodynamic tea—both of which I was delighted to receive.Imagine the recipient opening your gift without you.Remember the study I mentioned earlier about gift-givers being motivated by the receiver’s reaction? Wanting to wow your loved ones might make you spend more than you should (perhaps on stuff that won’t even satisfy them in the long run, per the study). That’s why I recommend imagining the recipient opening a potential purchase when you aren’t around. This exercise may help dial down the tendency to want to elicit a Cheshire Cat grin and can help you give a gift that better aligns with the recipient’s long-term needs and enjoyment (and your budget).As an example, I was on the receiving end of a very practical gift a few years ago. My in-laws, knowing how much I love popcorn, got me a hot-air popcorn maker. It might not be the most exciting (or expensive) thing you can think of, but I get so much use out of it, and I think of them at least once a week when I pull it out of the cupboard and load it up with my local corn kernels.
This article is part of All the Rage, an editorial package that digs into the science of anger. SELF will be publishing new articles for this series all week. Read more here.There’s nothing quite like hitting the gym when you feel like you’re about to explode. Anger can make you feel powerful and, as SELF previously reported, there are physiological reasons for that. A spike in stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, might actually make you feel like you can run faster, lift heavier, or just work out harder. There are plenty of reasons to temper that feeling of invincibility—namely, risk of injury—but rage workouts can be awesome because they often leave us feeling less angry afterward. Yup, that burning vexation gets replaced with satisfaction and a deep feeling of accomplishment. Pretty nice, right?When the feeling strikes, we’ve got the perfect playlist to set the tone. These punk and rock songs span several decades—but they’ve all got a few things in common: screaming guitars, dynamic vocals, and solid, driving drum beats. We stacked the list with classics from The Runaways, Nirvana, Ozzy Osborne, and Alanis Morissette—but also threw in some newer hits from The Linda Lindas and Paramore. Though the playlist starts off strong, we hope that you finish your workout feeling a little calmer and clear-headed, which is exactly why we rounded out this list with upbeat tunes from The Strokes, Weezer, and The Verve.Browse the tracks below on Spotify or keep scrolling for the complete playlist. Above all: We hope you lift, run, or cycle safely—and feel a helluva lot better when you reach your finish line. ContentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Full playlist:“Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways“Breathe” by Prodigy“Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs“Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill“Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine“I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne“Celebrity Skin” by Hole“Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by The Smashing Pumpkins“Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage“I Was a Teenage Anarchist” by Against Me!“Oh!” by The Linda Lindas“I Love Rock ’n Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts“I Fought the Law” by The Clash“Basket Case” by Green Day“This Is Why” by Paramore“Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette“Come As You Are” by Nirvana“Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse“Howlin’ For You” by The Black Keys“Fell In Love With a Girl” by The White Stripes“Under Cover of Darkness” by The Strokes“(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” by Weezer“Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The VerveRelated:
For many folks recovering from alcohol abuse, trying to avoid drinking, or simply reducing the amount of booze they consume, the past few years have presented some, unique challenges. There’s no one answer here, no magic formula or recommended daily approach (beyond the CDC’s usual drinking guidelines) when it comes to moderating your alcohol intake. The decision to drink or not is personal: a midmorning mimosa might feel awful to me but look like self-care or a much-needed distraction to someone else.Luckily for all of us, drinking culture has become more inclusive, bringing non-alcoholic drinks (many that are far more sophisticated than psychedelic blue juice with a coordinating umbrella). In fact, following a boom in alcohol-free cocktails, there are now so many booze alternatives on the market that it can be tough to know which belongs on your bar cart. To get a sense of which ones are worth trying, we tapped six bartenders and beverage experts from around the country to share their picks on the best nonalcoholic drinks, spirits, bitters, mixers, shrubs, beers, and wines for shaking up a cocktail—or sipping by themselves—at home.Whether you’re finding it hard to stay sober around the holidays (or anytime), trying to cut back on alcohol, don’t really drink to begin with (but still want to enjoy the taste of a mixed drink), or just want to understand more about your drinking habits, these 37 non-alcoholic drinks are all delicious. They’re Dry January-approved and guaranteed to bring enjoyment sans hangover. And if you want to add a nip of something alcoholic, nobody’s stopping you.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Here’s what you should know about the many ways anger can impact your body in the long run, and what to do if you’re concerned about how it might be taking a toll on your health. 1. Heightened inflammation A growing body of research suggests chronic stress, as well as the negative emotions associated with it, is strongly linked to higher levels of inflammation in the body and dysfunctional immune system responses. Your immune system is designed to attack potential threats to your body with inflammatory cells, Dr. Duijndam explains. “With chronic stress, including anger, these markers of inflammation increase as well.” So even if you don’t have, say, an infection brewing, these inflammatory cells may start to get rowdy and go after healthy cells instead if you’re a person who deals with lots of anger, she says. That, in turn, can set the stage for various health issues, especially as you age. For example, a 2019 study that followed 226 older adults for one week found that those who had higher levels of self-reported anger were more likely to have higher levels of inflammation and a higher risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and even certain cancers. On top of that, constantly feeling rage-y can also impact your everyday habits, some of which may lead to further inflammation, or simply damage your health in other ways. “The significant confound we have in any of this research is that people who are chronically angry tend to engage in lots of unhealthy behaviors,” Dr. Martin says, such as smoking, excessive drinking, and overeating or loading up on food that isn’t as nutritious as it could be. “Those unhealthy behaviors will have an impact too,” he stresses.2. Heart disease“The bulk of the evidence that we have on the health consequences of anger really has to do with the heart and [the rest of the] cardiovascular system, and we’ve known that for decades,” Dr. Martin says. Try to do a quick body scan the next time your blood starts to boil—that is, take a moment to notice how the various parts of your body feel, one by one—and it won’t be hard to understand why anger can do a number on your heart. “When you keep ruminating in a state of anger, it leads to poor cardiovascular recovery,” says Dr. Duijndam. Again, that’s because “it keeps you in a state of stress.” Anger can spike your blood pressure and heart rate, two factors that place immense pressure on your heart muscle and therefore heighten the risk of chronic hypertension. An influx of stress hormones can also boost your blood sugar levels and blood fatty acid levels, which can damage blood vessels and lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, respectively. That’s one reason why regularly getting and staying angry could potentially play a role in conditions like cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. 3. Reduced lung functionQuick and shallow breathing is one of the first physical effects anger triggers for many people. “When we need to ‘fight or flight’ from a situation that’s threatening, it makes sense,” Dr. Duijndam says. It’s your body’s way of trying to supply more oxygen to areas it perceives as essential, like the brain and muscles. It follows, then, that strong emotions like anger are a common trigger for asthma attacks in those who are susceptible.
“After delivery, there’s this incredible change in reproductive hormones,” Katherine L. Wisner, MD, the Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. “Hormones—such as estrogen and progesterone—go from the highest they’ll ever be down to almost nothing as soon as the placenta is delivered.” And some experts believe these rapid hormonal shifts are linked to the development of PPD in people who are biologically susceptible. Plus, recovering from a vaginal delivery or a C-section is hard and can be incredibly painful. Giving birth does not always go smoothly, and some estimates suggest one-third of people who give birth experience some form of trauma while delivering their baby, which may contribute to PPD or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While trauma can include things like enduring premature labor or feeling worried about a baby’s well-being, many people report that the people in the room—their care providers, including doctors, midwives, and nurses—are responsible for these distressing experiences, say, by dismissing the severity of a birthing parent’s pain, among many other scenarios.But one of the biggest changes that will affect your day-to-day functioning as a new parent is the ability to get enough sleep. Recovering postpartum with little to no sleep is a challenge that’s underestimated by society, Dr. Wisner says. And, as you might be able to guess, studies have shown a strong correlation between sleep deprivation and emotions like depression, anxiety, and anger.In a Canadian study of nearly 300 women, published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth in 2022, 31% of moms reported feeling intense anger, while more than half said their sleep quality was poor. The researchers concluded that a parent’s sleep quality, as well as feeling angry about their infant’s sleep quality, were two major predictors of postpartum anger. A range of disparities also contributes to the rage.For Black birthing parents, in particular, the stigma anger carries can be a huge barrier to seeking necessary mental health support. “Anger and rage are widely under-recognized. There’s a natural shying away of emotions in fear of being the stereotype of the ‘Angry Black Woman,’” Lauren Elliott, the CEO and founder of Candlelit Therapy, a perinatal mental health care service for underserved new and expectant parents, tells SELF. “Black maternal health is in extreme crisis.”There are a host of systemic issues that prevent Black people and other people of color from receiving proper mental health care. Birth parents of color experience higher-than-average rates of postpartum depression, and yet, they are less likely to be diagnosed, less likely to know that the symptoms they’re experiencing are related to PPD, and are therefore less likely to be properly treated, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.“Black women are less likely to be screened in pregnancy for depression and anxiety,” Elliott says. The consequences of these disparities can be devastating. As SELF previously reported, Black and Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Social media influencers self-branding as “medicine people” or “healers.” Remember that most Indigenous medicine people do not advertise their knowledge on Instagram, do not share photos of ceremonies, and certainly do not attempt to gain “followings.” Watch out for these so-called gurus who are probably not endorsed by the communities they claim. While self-branded medicine people might seem harmless, their services should not be confused with authentic Indigenous practices. Anyone calling themselves a healer without a background in an Indigenous community or training in specific forms of medicine is an opportunistic person who is charging money for illegitimate services—and profiting off of our culture in the process. Misuse of Indigenous face paint, body paint, and regalia. The adornments that Indigenous people use have meaning, are tied to personal family lineage, and are often earned or passed down—not invented or made up. Unfortunately, we still see adults wearing our feathers and face paint at festivals like Coachella and Burning Man because they think it looks cool. This is derogatory and disrespectful. Don’t do it.Support Indigenous cultural practices—and people—without appropriating. Most Indigenous people today have witnessed and been impacted negatively by discrimination, whether they’ve seen unfair, short-sighted depictions of our people in pop culture, suffered the ongoing impacts of generations of structural and institutionalized racism, or been bombarded by ignorant questions in social situations. On the other hand, many of us have seen incredible progress take place in the recent past too. As of the last five years, Indigenous Peoples Day and Native American Heritage Month have become widely celebrated holidays, Indigenous representation has improved by leaps and bounds in Hollywood thanks to TV shows like Reservation Dogs, and Indigenous leaders are now serving in some of the highest offices in the land—most notably Deb Haaland, the first Native American Secretary of the Interior.Fortunately, Indigenous representation in wellness culture is getting better too. Thanks to the efforts of Indigenous leaders, organizations like Well For Culture (an Indigenous wellness initiative I cofounded with my husband, Thosh Collins, a photographer and educator who is O’odham, Osage, and Seneca), Newo Wellness, Studio Quila, Nike N7, Rising Hearts, and Red Girl Rising are among dozens that are paving the way. Each of these organizations take unique approaches to revitalizing ancestral health knowledge, healing from historical trauma, making wellness accessible to Indigenous communities, and using social media to show the world what healthy, thriving Indigenous people look like. Instead of defining Native American and First Nations people by their hardships, this movement highlights that Indigenous people are part of an ancient and ongoing tradition of good health on this land, and that they have the power to pass this tradition on to future generations. In the book I wrote with Thosh, The Seven Circles: Indigenous Teachings for Living Well, we welcome readers from all walks of life to recognize the beauty and power of an Indigenous approach to wellness. We encourage living in balance and embracing the ups and downs of a lifelong health journey, as opposed to offering a crash plan that aims for perfection.