Discover Tennessee’s Best Local Music Venues

From the country twang on Nashville’s Broadway to the Memphis blues on Beale Street, Tennessee’s rich musical heritage takes center stage no matter where you are in the state. Here’s a list of some of the best music venues across the state.

Rhythm and Roots, Bristol

Bristol is known as the birthplace of country music thanks to a 1927 recording session that discovered the legendary Carter family. Today, The New York Times reports the city’s landmark museum regularly hosts performances by local and regional acts. But the Rhythm and Roots Reunion is always the best opportunity to hear live music. Held in September, this three-day music festival features dozens of big-name and regional acts on numerous stages and venues in downtown Bristol.

The Down Home, Johnson City

A long-time mecca for fans of live music, The Down Home in Johnson City hosts a wide variety of musical talent. With seating for about 150, it prides itself on hosting quality performers in an atmosphere that inspires you to listen, not just socialize behind the scenes. Past performers include Red Clay Ramblers and the Boxcars.

Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville

As the official state theatre of Tennessee, the Tennessee Theatre has a storied past. The theatre opened its doors in 1928 as a “movie palace” where patrons could see films for only 40 cents. After an extensive renovation, the theatre now hosts a variety of concerts and events. Go for a visit and be enchanted by the building’s glittering chandeliers and ornate décor.

Nashville Venues

Given the sheer volume, it would be difficult to list all the live music venues in Nashville. From arenas with seating for thousands to intimate dives in Printer’s Alley, Nashville has tons to offer every live-music aficionado. Discover new songwriters at The Bluebird Cafe listening room, find up-and-coming punk bands at The End, and listen world-class bluegrass at The Station Inn.

The city’s most well-known may be the Ryman Auditorium, sometimes called the “Mother Church of country music.” For 25 years, the Ryman housed the Grand Ole Opry, where many country and rock legends played: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Sr., The Carter Sisters and many others. Today, a variety of artists perform at the Ryman, and the venue still occasionally hosts the Grand Ole Opry.

Music in Memphis

Home of the blues, Memphis is full of local music venues. Historic Beale Street has a large concentration of blues clubs, including the Rum Boogie Cafe, Blue Monkey, Black Diamond, Newby’s and BB King’s Blues Club.

Beale Street can be a bit touristy and crowded, especially during the summer months. To escape the masses, venture to Wild Bill’s on Vollintine Avenue, where legendary soul and R&B musicians perform regularly. Find rock at the Hi-Tone or Buccaneer Lounge. The Levitt Shell in Overton Park hosted blues festivals in the 1960s, and today features live music five nights a week in the spring and autumn. And don’t forget to see the Elvis impersonator at Dad’s Place on East Brooks Road.

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

6 Tips for Managing Adult ADHD

When many people think of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), images of a child who struggles to pay attention at school or can’t seem to sit still at the dinner table may come to mind. But ADHD isn’t just a child’s disorder. Nearly 5 percent of adults in the United States have the condition as well.

Symptoms of ADHD differ for adults and are often more subtle than those in children. According to Health, adults with ADHD often have trouble with organization, engage in impulsive behavior and struggle to complete tasks at home and work.

ADHD in adults should always be supervised and managed by a doctor, but here are some tips to help manage the condition.

Get Yourself Organized

Attention disorders are all about organization, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately for communities with so many technological devices available, leading a more organized life is just a click away.

Use digital calendar books, apps for list-making or those offering flow charts — like XMind or Popplet — to organize your thoughts. List-making can set up your plan for the day, but also break down larger tasks into smaller steps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. If you think more efficiently through old-fashioned pen and paper, you can always use a planner or notebook for your calendar and reminders.

Make Lists

List-making can set up your plan for the day, but only if you make lists in a way that isn’t daunting. Keep to-do lists brief, no more than five items, and cross tasks off as you finish them so you can feel accomplished and less frustrated. Consider breaking down larger tasks into smaller steps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

A Helping Hand

ADHD in adults can strain your relationships, and admitting your condition to friends and supervisors can be embarrassing. But honesty in advance can help defuse more difficult situations later. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help or confide in them during times when you feel yourself struggling with common ADHD symptoms.

If you need a little extra support outside your circle of friends and family, professional therapy can help develop skills to minimize impulsive or irrational behaviors. In addition to counseling, support groups can also help fill in the gaps between appointments. You can also approach ADD/ADHD coaches to help you hone more practical coping skills.

Impulse Control

Additude magazine offers a few pointers for exercising impulse control, particularly on checking yourself before you respond to things with poorly chosen words. Here are a few techniques to delay your reactions while you think things through:

  • Try placing your finger over your mouth to halt impulses while considering your response.
  • Paraphrase what the speaker said to you before replying.
  • Practice speaking slowly in a mirror, so you have more time to think about the words coming out.

Avoid Overstimulation

If you suffer from ADHD, drinking espresso, energy drinks or other sugar-laden foods to stay focused is probably not the best idea, according to Healthline. Not only should you avoid chemical stimulants like caffeine or excessive sugar, but chaotic situations may overload your senses as well. Big crowds in settings such as amusements parks and concerts may be a little more than you can handle.

Stress and lack of sleep can also aggravate ADHD symptoms; explore natural techniques to cope with this discomfort, such as meditation and yoga.

Living with ADHD can be a challenge. Embracing organizational techniques or support systems and avoiding overstimulation can get you on your way to a happier and more productive life.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

How to Store Food Long Term

As the summer comes to a close, you may have produce in your kitchen than you can use before it spoils. And although too much of a good thing isn’t usually a problem, you don’t want to waste your fruits and vegetables. Learning to store food long term can help you save time and money.

Before you get started, however, use or discard any damaged items while they’re still ripe. Bruised produce will rot and can spread to other stored vegetables, so be sure to sort through any produce before putting it away.

Canning

Canning and pickling involve a fair amount of time and supplies, but most fruits can be canned easily. Common vegetables such as onions and beans can also be canned. Whichever foods you’d like to do this with, consider “pickling” the ones that don’t naturally fit in sealable containers.

The two most popular canning methods are water bath and pressure canning, as explained by Ball. Choose water bath canning for high-acidity foods — namely fresh preserves, salsas, tomatoes, pickles and fruit juices. Because these foods are naturally high in acid, they do not need a temperature much higher than boiling point to prevent bacteria. Using this method, you will fill a preheated jar in boiling water to seal and then store it at room temperature.

For pressure canning, low-acidity foods such as vegetables are your best option. Foods that are low in acid content require higher canning temperatures of 240 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid spoilage from germ growth. With this method, you’ll fill a preheated canning jar and then place it in a pressure canner, which has a locking lid that allows the temperature to rise before sealing the jar for long-term storage. Most canned fruits and vegetables can be stored for up to a year.

Drying

Drying preserves foods for up to a year as well by removing the water that encourages mold and bacteria to fester. Although not every fruit and vegetable can be dried, this option is safe and reliable using a few different methods.

You can dry either indoors or outdoors. For outdoor preparation, sun drying is a popular choice. With respect to typical Southern humidity, however, the University of Georgia suggests drying outside when the humidity is below 60 percent and the temperature is above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

High humidity prevents foods from drying, so living in a high-moisture climate may require you to dry foods inside. For the best results, dry on racks that are safe for food.

You can also use an oven or dehydrator. Keep the oven at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and prop the door open just a little for air circulation. Cooling racks placed on top of cookie sheets are a great option for drying a variety of fruits and vegetables. Dehydrators are separate appliances that have both a heating element and a fan for circulation. After drying, cool your produce and pack it in containers of your choice.

Freezing

Many fruits and vegetables can be frozen. Vegetables that need to be cooked will generally freeze well, but there are those that don’t: cucumbers, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes. Most fruits can be frozen, too, but should be peeled, pitted or have their seeds removed before storage.

The best choices for frozen storage include beets, broccoli, carrots, squash, corn, berries, bananas, apples, oranges, peaches and cherries. Pack tightly and store at 32 degrees or lower.

Remember that while most fruits and vegetable can be stored, they won’t last forever. Take note of when you plan on using your produce, and use this guide to get the most from them while they’re at their freshest.

Longing to Simplify Your Life? Join the Downshifting Trend

Who hasn’t longed for a simpler life — to work less, stress less and spend more time with family and friends? In today’s busy world, it may seem impossible, but as more people wish to stop living a hurried, stressful life, the concept of “downshifting” has gained popularity.

The Appeal of Simplicity

What does it mean to downshift? Simply, to slow down. People who practice downshifting—sometimes referred to as “downshifters”—believe in improving their lives by focusing on personal fulfillment, minimalism and relationships, instead of climbing the career ladder and accumulating material possessions. Downshifters commit to making changes to their workload, spending habits and lifestyle in an effort to lower stress, live consciously and spend more time with their loved ones.

The Need for Simplicity

Downshifting first gained popularity in the 1990s and more Americans are turning to it as their lives continue to get busier and more stressful. In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, more than half of those surveyed reported feeling significantly stressed from work, financial and family obligations. Another study found 54 percent of workers often use their vacation days not for rest and relaxation, but for running errands and taking care of children and other family members.

Interested in reducing stress and simplifying your life? Consider making these lifestyle changes to enjoy the benefits of downshifting.

1. Lighten Your Workload

Time is money, and downshifters would rather have more hours at home than dollars in the bank. Work-based downshifting could mean forgoing overtime, working part-time or flex hours, opting for roles with less responsibility or even passing up promotions if they’d negatively affect life outside the office.

2. Change Career Paths

Career downshifts usually call for a more radical change than work downshifts. This could mean working from home, choosing a workplace with a shorter commute or pursuing a passion that doesn’t pay as well but is much more satisfying — such as teaching or working at a non-profit organization.

3. Tighten Your Budget

Both work and career downshifts usually result in less expendable income and, therefore, downshifters focus on reducing their expenses and possessions. For example, you might prepare meals at home rather than eating out, buy generic products rather than brand names or opt out of unnecessary services such as cable television or cell phone data plans. This lets you kick pricey habits that don’t actually better your mood or career in the long term.

4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Going green isn’t just good for the environment, it’s usually a more cost-effective lifestyle. This could mean conserving utilities such as power and water, biking and carpooling to work, or starting your own vegetable garden. Reduce clutter by donating some of your possessions to a worthy cause and spending your money more conscientiously.

5. Change Locations

Packing up and moving might sound extreme, but city living isn’t cheap. Many downshifters relocate from urban or expensive neighborhoods into rural areas where rent is less expensive and the costs of living aren’t as high.

Ready to start downshifting? Ask yourself what you really want out of life and work, and what you’d need to do to make it happen.

Taylor Mallory Holland is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in healthcare, technology, and business leadership. She regularly contributes content to some of the world’s top brands, including BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and Samsung USA. As founder of Taylored Editorial, LLC, Holland also edits books, blogs, and Web content for dozens of bestselling authors. Find her on Twitter @TaylorMHoll.

Six Great Family-Friendly Outdoor Music Venues

Tennessee is full of inexpensive, family-friendly opportunities to enjoy live music under the stars. Here are six of the best outdoor music venues in Tennessee, all of which offer fun for kids and grownups alike.

Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

Townsend

Savor the sounds of blues, country, folk and more while celebrating eastern Tennessee’s cultural heritage at this picturesque amphitheater. The heritage center‘s fall concert series, which begins September 25, is just $8 per person. Don’t forget to bring your folding chairs!

Greenway Farms

Chattanooga

Pack a picnic dinner, your folding chairs and some blankets and head to Greenway Farms for the Fireside at the Greenway outdoor music series. Complete with a campfire and marshmallow roasting, these family-friendly concerts are the perfect way to enjoy an autumn evening. This event is sponsored by Outdoor Chattanooga and occurs on the first four Thursdays during October.

Knoxville Market Square

Knoxville

Stop by Market Square on Thursday evenings during October for live music, dancing, food and plenty of fun at the Fall Market Square Concert Series. Each show wraps up by 8:30 PM, so even the littlest concertgoers can be home in time for bed. Plus, admission is free!

Vanderbilt University Dyer Observatory Bluebird on the Mountain

Nashville

Here’s an evening of live music surrounded by majestic oak and hickory trees on one of Nashville’s tallest hilltops. When the music winds down, head inside toward the Dyer Observatory telescope to get a closer look at the Milky Way.

The Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater

Nashville

Spend a night under the stars at this outdoor amphitheater, just minutes from downtown Nashville. With state-of-the-art sound in a magical wooded setting, a full-service restaurant plus two miles of nature trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Levitt Shell in Overton Park

Memphis

Starting in the spring and playing through fall, free family concerts rock the Levitt Shell — a local landmark in Midtown Memphis. Grab a seat on one of the first-come first-served benches, or bring blankets and chairs and hang out on the lawn.

Winter will be here before you know it. Plan your spot at some of these outdoor music venues in Tennessee for a show your whole family will enjoy.

Marygrace Taylor is is an award-winning health, wellness, and nutrition writer whose work has appeared in Glamour, Redbook, Prevention, and Women’s Health. You can follow her on Twitter @mgtylr, or at marygracetaylor.com.

Rest Easier With These 10 Facts About Sleep

Science can’t say for certain how sleep rejuvenates your mind and body, but one thing is for sure – adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health.

Adequate sleep plays a crucial role in your immune system, metabolism, memory, learning ability and other vital functions. Without it, your risk goes up for diabetes, depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and similar health conditions. Here are 10 facts about sleep that can help you get a good night’s rest.

1. Exercise Helps You Sleep

Exercising regularly makes falling asleep easier and helps you sleep efficiently once you do. However, don’t exercise right before bed. Going to sleep can become more difficult if you have recently boosted your heart rate and blood circulation.

2. Snoring Isn’t Harmful, But It Can Indicate a Problem

Snoring may be annoying for many people, but it isn’t hazardous in and of itself. For others, snoring indicates a more serious medical problem called sleep apnea, wherein those with the condition don’t get adequate oxygen while they sleep. This causes the cardiovascular system to work much harder, increasing one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea often affects those who are overweight or have a large neck, but according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, it’s treatable with sleep devices. Consult a doctor if you think you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea.

3. You Can’t ‘Make Up’ for Lost Sleep

If you didn’t get enough sleep last night, you can’t close the deficit by taking naps or sleeping longer tonight. Sleep deprivation that becomes too extensive can result in obesity, high blood pressure, irritability, decreased productivity and even personal safety issues during the day. Drowsy driving could lead to car accidents.

4. Melatonin May Help

Although melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in your body, according to the National Sleep Foundation, some studies show consuming it may decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. As a result, it may also help you stay asleep throughout the night.

5. Lack of Sleep Can Cause You to Gain Weight

People who are sleep-deprived sometimes have larger appetites. That’s because their body’s leptin levels — the appetite-regulating hormone — have decreased, which leads to an increased craving for fuel.

6. Insomnia Increases As You Age

Insomnia (or the inability to sleep) increases as you get older, often due to natural changes in your circadian rhythm. However, there’s usually an underlying medical or psychological condition for insomnia that should be discussed with a health care professional.

7. Teens Require More Sleep

Teenagers who doze off in class or take afternoon naps probably aren’t lazy – they’re just not getting enough sleep. Although they may be starting to look like adults, teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night.

8. Keep Your Bedroom Cool

Ideally, your sleeping area should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also consider removing any distractions from your bedroom, such as a TV or computer. If necessary, use blackout curtains to lessen light and white-noise makers like fans or humidifiers to drown out isolated sounds outside.

9. Counting Sheep May Not Work

If you wake in the middle of the night, try to think about things you find relaxing. Counting sheep may actually be more distracting to your efforts. If you haven’t gone to sleep in 15 minutes, don’t just lay there and watch the clock. Leave your bedroom and do something relaxing in another part of your home. Only return to bed when you feel sleepy.

10. Your Teeth Can Affect Sleep

Grinding and clenching your teeth at night can affect the quality of your sleep more than you think. Your doctor can help find a treatment option to prevent this tendency, also called bruxism.

Inadequate sleep can influence your overall health in a number of ways. Getting the facts about sleep will help you make the best of your night so you’re prepared for tomorrow.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.

Best Places to Go Camping in Tennessee

Regardless of whether you are a novice outdoorsman or an experienced camper, you will find a myriad of opportunities for camping in Tennessee. Check out our compilation of sites, which includes both the developed and primitive campsites that can be found in each of the state’s three regions.

East Tennessee

The Appalachian Mountains dominate East Tennessee and make a beautiful backdrop for camping. With the area’s crystal-clear creeks, scenic mountain vistas, vibrant waterfalls and fields of wildflowers, you can enjoy your time sleeping under the stars just about anywhere in East Tennessee.

One of the most popular places for camping in Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes camping opportunities for all experience levels. The park offers 10 developed front-country camping sites complete with amenities and RV hookups as well as dozens of backcountry camping sites and primitive shelters. You will need a reservation for developed sites, and backcountry campers must get permits from the park’s Backcountry Information Office.

Located in Kingsport, Warriors’ Path State Park offers excellent camping accommodations for families. You will find 134 developed campsites along with a pool, playgrounds, a lake, hiking trails, a disc golf course and horses. The park is located within a mile or two of grocery stores and other amenities. To reserve your spot, visit the campground’s website.

Middle Tennessee

The Cumberland Plateau makes up much of the eastern portion of Middle Tennessee. Further west, the land becomes less hilly, but camping opportunities abound near the Volunteer State’s lakes and rivers.

Fall Creek Falls State Park offers family-friendly campsites as well as zip lining, swimming, boating, golfing, hiking and horseback riding. The park has 222 developed sites with water, electricity, tables and grills, and most of the park’s campgrounds are handicapped-accessible. Backcountry campers can also take advantage of 16 primitive campsites within the park.

About 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, the Harpeth River area provides excellent hiking and camping in Harpeth River State Park. You will find paved tent sites and amenities like hot showers, dumping stations, picnic shelters and a playground. To get some quality time on the river, consider canoeing the 12 miles from the TN-250 Bridge to the various campsites.

West Tennessee

The Natchez Trace Parkway winds its way through West Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The National Park Service maintains the route and provides three primitive campgrounds along the parkway. There is no electricity, but there are bathrooms with water available in the summer.

Additional campgrounds are available for those who are riding through on bicycles. Five bicycle-only campgrounds are spaced between 30 and 60 miles apart along the Natchez Trace. These sites offer picnic tables, tent pads, fire grates and restrooms.

With cabins for rent, a lodge, golf course, marina, restaurant and other amenities, Pickwick Landing State Park is a great place to camp. You can also take advantage of tent camping in 75 sites in the Bruton Branch Recreation Area. If you like to hike, you can explore Bear Creek Canyon, which is located just across the state line in Mississippi.

Regardless of which part of Tennessee you’re from or your camping comfort level, there are plenty of opportunities statewide when you want to find time to relax in the great outdoors.

Tell us, do you have a favorite spot to go camping?

A former newspaper journalist, Chelsea Adams is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness and lifestyles topics. A native Tennessean, she makes her home in Kansas with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about her transition from the mountains to the prairie at http://wichitawesome.blogspot.com.

How Playing an Instrument Boosts Your Health

Learning to play an instrument does more for you than just gaining a new skill or hobby. It can also improve your health. Numerous studies have shown how playing an instrument reduces stress and improves your state of mind. Here’s a list health benefits of learning to play an instrument.

Improve Your Mood

There’s a reason your favorite song always puts a smile on your face. The American Psychological Association found that music reduces your brain’s production of cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress and anxiety.

Treat Pain and Depression

In many cases, music therapy can actually lessen chronic depression symptoms for children and adults. It also helps to alleviate pain in patients after certain types of surgery, and in people with chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia.

Boost Your Immune System

Music isn’t just good for your mental health; it also makes your body stronger. Medical Daily reported that listening to and playing music increases the body’s production of disease-fighting cells. This makes your immune system more effective against many types of bacteria and viruses.

Lower Your Blood Pressure

Researchers from the Netherlands found that a person’s brain behaves similarly when playing an instrument as it does when exercising. This means musicians who play regularly receive heart-health benefits that are similar to those they’d get from cardio exercise, including lower blood pressure and a slower resting heart rate.

Slow Brain Aging

Playing an instrument may ultimately help you remain sharper later in life. In a study by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, amateur musicians who practiced for at least 10 years throughout their lifetimes outperformed their peers when measured on their concentration skills, working memory and language fluency.

What is your favorite type of music? Is there an instrument you want to learn to learn to play?

Living with Social Anxiety: Tips and Advice

The majority of us get nervous before a first date, job interview or important presentation. But if everyday interactions with others fill you with dread or fear, you may have social anxiety.

About 12.9 million adults in the US suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Of those, 2.2 million have social anxiety or social phobia, a disorder characterized by fear of interaction with other people and being judged in social situations.

Social phobia may interfere with a person’s job, relationships, and general enjoyment of life. Left untreated, it can lead to low self-esteem, poor communication skills, low achievement levels, substance abuse, suicide or other serious mental health conditions.

How to Tell If You Have Social Anxiety

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of social anxiety may include:

Emotional/behavioral symptoms:

  • Fear of situations in which you might embarrass yourself or be judged
  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Feeling anxious or fearful about upcoming social activities
  • Analyzing your performance after social interactions

Physical symptoms:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion or feeling “out of body”

It’s important to note that people often confuse social anxiety with introversion. Introverted people are energized by solitude and quiet reflection. They prefer doing things alone or with small groups of close friends.

Introverts might display similar behaviors to people with social anxiety – such as avoiding large social gatherings – but they do so because of personal preference, not because of intense anxiety or fear.

Tips for Living with Social Anxiety

Although avoiding social situations may provide temporary relief, social anxiety disorders usually require treatment from a mental health expert to see long-term results. If you exhibit symptoms that interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor about medications and counseling options.

Also consider these self-help techniques:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and get enough sleep. Eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine intake. Try relaxation exercises and other stress-management techniques.
  2. Slowly face your fears. Determine which social situations make you feel most anxious and practice these activities to build coping skills. Start with more manageable outings, such as dinner in public with a close relative or friend. Prepare for the conversation in advance. Read the newspaper or check your dinner companion’s social media profiles to find conversation starters.
  3. Practice minor interactions with strangers. Make eye contact with someone you pass on the street. Compliment the cashier at the grocery store. Ask a stranger for directions.
  4. Build your self-esteem. Focus on what you like about yourself. Set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements. In social situations, notice how often the embarrassing situations you fear actually occur. It probably happens less often than you think. When you do get embarrassed, remind yourself that your feelings are normal and will pass — and that you can handle them until they do.

To learn more about how to deal with social anxiety, talk to your primary care physician or mental health care provider.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.