I recently dropped one of my tried and true philosophies...and paid for it! Even when (especially when) you're overwhelmed and busy, self-care is imperative. These videos are slightly tricky to follow because they're from my Instagram stories and I usually lose my train of thought because the videos stop after 15 seconds SO, I will fill you in...
I have been desperately been trying to adopt a much more simplified lifestyle when it comes to STUFF. I can't even call it "minimalism" just yet because I attempted it before my move and I failed miserably. I ended up having two garage sales, sold stuff on Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace, gave things away, and donated two trucks full of decor and home goods! YET, somehow, that still didn't get me to the point of reaching "minimalist". Why? 1. Apparently, I'm not cool enough. (Totally kidding, but, really, I'm going to have to redefine the term and make it my own...I'm a stylist. I can't own three pairs of jeans and I'm not sorry.) 2. Because it took me three solid days of moving and three trips in a small U-haul van to clear out my house. This eventful topic will be a blog post on its own because I want to share my tips and lessons learned for those of you who are looking to shed some pounds...not on your body this time, but in you home and consciousness!
During those three days, plus the previous days I prepped for my move after working full days, I didn't really invest the necessary TLC in my honor...and I felt it. Without going into too much detail, it probably took me two full days before I came back into my body. No bueno.
Anyway, I frequently hear people plead their case as to why they haven't tried daily meditation, cleaner eating, or just fit in that warm and delightful "me" time-- and it's usually because work has been crazy, their kids have a lot of activities, they've been traveling, etc. The reality is, the more hectic your life is, the more imperative self-care is! Being mindful of balance and being mindful of just being mindful is HUGE when it comes to health, happiness, and genuine wealth.
Similar to why flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping a loved one, you cannot give from an empty cup...or in the context of the airplane, you cannot save someone else's life if you yourself are incapacitated!
As always, I must close by saying that this is a constant evolution. Do I meditate, exercise, oil pull, call my family, spend time with friends, and cook 3 balanced meals each day? Nope. But opening up your consciousness to these truths each day is everything and will allow you to slowly reach a new spectrum of balance and ease!
The activities we partake in each day have a huge impact on our health. Feeding our souls with newness keeps us learning, evolving, and getting inspired....which ends up empowering us to become who we're meant to be. That is why going on field trips is actually one of my TOP wellness tips! Exposing yourself to beauty and exploring is SO important to your development. When we become stagnant in our lives, that's when negative talk can trickle into your brain, you feel less energized, and you use food for entertainment to fill that "lack". (What mindset we're in-- happy, sad, stressed, actually affects the way we metabolize/ assimilate our food and if it has an inflammatory effect on our bodies or not! Studies show that you could be eating healthy, but if you're stressed, it could cause just as much inflammation as someone eating poorly!) So, I suggest you get out and go to the museum, the library, the park, anywhere where you can absorb some culture and breathe in some life!
During my client sessions, we consistently touch on what fuels them. It's so imperative to pinpoint the activities that bring you joy, energy, and keep you moving. These very things are what belong in your personal "manual". When you're not feeling your optimum self, they're your go-to's to replenish, inspire, and bring you back to life. One of MY personal "weapons" in my arsenal is art. Almost any art or creativity will do, but some of my favorite art happens to be housed in The Getty Museum in LA. Not only is the artwork stunning, but the actual museum grounds and gardens are masterpieces alone. Here is my afternoon at the museum.
I was extremely excited when I was offered the opportunity to try this out and it didn't disappoint! This was an extremely cool experience. If you're prone to storing stress in your body (who doesn't), this therapy is a wonderful option to rejuvenate a tired bod AND an overworked mind! The room was nice and toasty and you really do float on the surface, with no effort.
If you are a client, you have access to a very handy app with a list of my favorite grocery items, BUT I have yet to share some of my tried-and-true miscellaneous loves. Whether I'm working out, getting ready for a night out, or getting some work done, I have grown to rely daily on a few of my favorites...and here they are!
I have purchased a handful of different styles and brands of headphones and never found a good fit that would sustain a turbulent run...until I found these gems! Designed specifically to fit smaller ears, the "FlexSoft and TwistLock technologies guarantee they will never hurt or fall out". I can honestly say they don't come out of your ears, even during a rigorous workout! Yurbuds also make a variety of different styles for men and women, even wireless, but I have the basic Inspire 100 style and they're perfect. The one thing I will say is that the FlexSoft bud attachments do come off kind of easily after a while and if you have an adorable niece who likes to take them off, you might have to be careful you don't lose one!
Not only are these toothbrushes good for the environment, they come in gorgeous recycled (and biodegradable) packaging, AND the charcoal bristles feel great and leave your mouth feeling super clean! Not too soft, not too abrasive.
This face mask is truly amazing-- especially for the price! It contains two magical anti-inflammatory ingredients: turmeric and neem, making any flair ups minimized within just one use. I love this product because it also doubles as a face scrub. Once dried, you simply remove it with a warm moist washcloth and the granules in the mask remove dead skin, clean out your pores, and polish your complexion to perfection, without over-drying or irritating even sensitive skin!
Not only does this product smell AMAZING (gender neutral goodness), it contains skin loving vitamins E and B5. I make sure that any product I use does not contain harmful additives, SO a definite selling point is that it doesn't contain parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates or phthalates, (known to increase your risk of cancer). Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates are used as a lathering agent in many products so, sometimes, products that don't contain this toxic ingredient fall flat (literally), but this product creates enough suds to double as an effective shaving cream!
I have been known to experience just a few cases of overwhelm (haha) and phenomenal Kava has come to the rescue a handful of times! Kava has been used medicinally and during tribal ceremonies for centuries... and once you try it, you'll know why. It does a wonderful job taking the edge off, without impairing your judgement, leaving you feeling very calm and at peace. While I don't drink this every day, because regular use can reduce the effectiveness over time, I have found it very beneficial when I am in social situations when I don't want to partake in drinking alcohol (to avoid the wrath of a few drinks). Most recently, I enjoyed relying on this tea to zen out before speaking engagements.
When I first tried Kava, it was a very expensive paste that you put a pea-sized amount under your tongue. Although horribly disgusting, it was extremely effective. Later, a very sweet friend brought me a brewed version and an instant powder from a kava shop in Austin. These versions were also pretty gross and since it's a diluted version of the paste, you have to drink approx. 8 oz., (which is a lot when it tastes like it does). I have read various instructions to flavor it with sweeteners or add milk and I can't imagine this doing much help. Again, while these pricey versions don't taste good at all, they do a superb job reducing anxiety because they are pure kava!
I was extremely excited to see that Yogi came out with a tea! Since it's blended with other herbs and flavors, it's not as potent so, I just use two bags. Even though I am most definitely not a fan of licorice, this blend tastes MUCH better than the other versions I have tried-- not to mention, it is much more affordable AND you can find it at Natural Grocers! For more information on the awesome benefits (and potential risks), click here.
More to come!....
I almost started to add my favorite CLEAN cosmetics and because it has been QUITE the journey finding good ones, I will be devoting an entire blog post to this very important/ conclusive research! So, stay tuned!
Do you have any healthy favorites?! Share below!
Whether you have rosy memories of your childhood or (sadly) poor ones, there is one thing that every adult can benefit from. This little thing is something called "self-parenting"! As adults, we are responsible for making ourselves our own priority. Like a parent cares for a child, we must make sure we are properly fed, clothed, and loved.
My first easy example of this: packing snacks for yourself when you know it's going to be a hectic day. I love keeping tea bags, a giant water bottle, stevia packets, and treats like Bulletproof Collagen Bars and Mary's Gone Crackers in my work desk.
Another thing I do for myself is always carrying a cute little pouch labeled "Girlie Stuff" for...you guessed it, girly stuff! It is sort of like the equivalent of an adult diaper bag. I make sure it's properly stocked before I leave the house each day and just throw it in the purse I'm using. Tweezers, tissue, stevia packets, tea bags, lip balm, moisturizer, tiny deodorant, roller fragrance, hair tie, and other lady products. This may seem silly and slightly elementary, but I can't tell you how many times I've thanked myself for carrying it with me! It frequently comes in handy and it's just a really thoughtful way of showing yourself that you follow through, you are loved, and taken care of. It also allows you to avoid unnecessary stress. You obviously don't need a fancy pouch, but I have found that the cuter it is, the more I enjoy carrying it. (For my male readers, trying filling a pouch with some of the items mentioned above....maybe add a pocket knife to the list and store it your glove box or desk drawer.)
A very important role of self-parenting: dress properly for your day and always bring a jacket. This regards to the temperature, but, also, looking put together. When we feel polished and invest some time on our appearance, it's more likely that we'll go the extra mile-- feeling good about stepping out, being seen, and getting things done! Another bonus: having the opportunity to say, "yes, I can meet up immediately after work for dinner." We need to show ourselves that we're worth the time to look our best and be seen!
Last, check-in. I talk about this quite a bit because it's so very important and I feel like it's worth being reminded. When a child seems irritable, the parent's role is to try to figure out what's wrong. Do they need a new diaper?, are they hungry?, do they need a nap?, do they feel well? The same goes for ourselves. When we're short tempered, lethargic, weepy, or stressed, we need to ask ourselves, "What's going on? How can I alleviate xyz for you?" Sometimes, it's as easy as realizing we're overwhelmed and maybe a bath or a balanced meal needs to be on our evening agenda.
Like a child, this type of supervision can prevent burnout, illness, and breakdowns. Make Y.O.U. your utmost priority. Without you being your best you, your family, profession, and social circle will be short changed. So, ask yourself, "What types of self-parenting do I currently practice and how can I improve?" If you feel comfortable, answer below in the comments section!
For more tips on how to be an excellent parent to yourself, read my other self-care entries below!
Valentine's Day is around the corner so, I thought this form of self-care would be appropriate. Although, we should be doing this on the regular! Getting and giving hugs and affection.
Did you know that lack of physical affection can actually kill babies? If babies aren't touched, rocked, and loved on enough, they don't grow or develop at a natural, healthy rate-- increasing their chances of illness, disabilities, and mortality. So, why this grim information? Development doesn't end at infancy or, even, the age that we reach our max height. We continuously keep developing, therefore, this touchy-feely business pertains to ALL stages of life.
As humans living in this kind of society, most of us are touch-deprived. This particular article is specific to caring for elderly, but I think the information and techniques are actually very useful to apply to your everyday interactions with anyone. Whether we live in a household full of people, a dorm room of one, or a condo of two, it really makes no difference...you might be one of the majority who is lacking touch. The good news: giving affection is just as useful to you as getting it. It's definitely one of those two-way streets where whoever is on the receiving end makes no difference-- you're still getting affection...and what's even better, potentially supplying someone's life-altering deficiency.
What do you do if you're a single person living in a city of strangers? Various spa treatments like massages, facials, scalp treatments, and delux mani/ pedis are great options. On a tight budget? Giving yourself regular hot towel scrubs is an awesome way to reap the benefits of touch. Intimacy comes in all shapes and forms. Getting a little lovin' from a spouse, partner, grandparent, masseuse, or yourself is all good!
Lastly, sorry, but I HAVE to add this-- There are some (mostly in my generation) who assume that sex is the primary solution for alleviating the urge for affection. Sadly, this could very well be someone with their wires crossed. Sometimes, those people seeking/ craving "passion" from randoms only continue this unhealthy cycle because they can't seem to feel fulfilled; when, really, you might just need a prescription of giving/getting 3 hugs a day! Poof, the craving dissipates! The same goes for foods. Most of the time, when we think we need sugar, we really need to unwind or indulge in a life activity. When you crave intimacy (or chocolate excessively), try having a deep conversation or get a massage (preferably from someone you care about)-- get creative!
So, TRY IT! This week, try hugging your loved ones. Spend time with a friend frequently and you don't greet with a hug?...boost the quality of your relationship and HUG them! xOxO!
I recently watched a lecture/ yoga class and it really inspired me. A. The instructor, Melissa Bourgeois, is adorable. B. She had the entire class reinforcing and practicing positions of power! Most people don't realize having forward head posture, causing your body to slump forward, can be very detrimental to your entire spine and health. (Think of the position you're usually in when you're looking down at your phone, sitting in front of the computer, or standing over a sink or stove.) While poor body positioning can turn into a potentially serious health risk, it also strongly impacts how other people perceive you. What's even more alarming and real is that it influences how you feel about yourself.
Melissa had us get in a Peter Pan-like stance, standing as tall as we could, with elbows out, fists on hips, and legs spread, taking up as much space as we could. Standing tall is obviously great for your posture and spine, but it also makes a HUGE impact on making you feel more powerful! (This is how the fashion statement "power heels" came about.) So, today's form of self-care is STAND TALL. Take up space and let the world know you have arrived! It will make you feel more powerful, embracing your inner badass, AND it will make you look like an alluring, tall glass of water.
Practice this at home in front of the mirror! Since you're in the privacy of your own home, really stretch it out and accentuate this stance: stand tall, reach your hands up to the sky, and feel limitless. When you're sitting in traffic, lift your body up like you have a string coming out of the top of your head and you're slowly being lifted up. When you're at your computer or looking at your phone, pretend like you have a back brace on and avoid rounding your shoulders. Again, this really is so important because when we reinforce bad posture, we cause a misalignment in our spines, which effect all vital organs and muscle function. (This is why I think Chiropractors should be a part of everyone's primary healthcare...and I used the term "healthcare", not "sickcare". Don't wait until you experience symptoms to be "forced" improve your lifestyle-- it's all about prevention, friends!)
So, stand like a model, a soldier, made-over Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, a superhero, or just the super-powerful version of amazing YOU!
*p.s. I want to remind you- these are guidelines and suggestions offered so that you become more mindful and rehearsed at taking out the time EACH DAY to take care of yourself! So, while it is my intention to post frequently, I feel confident that you can successfully fill in the blanks without my help! And, if you have trouble, here is an adorable illustration with a VARIETY of suggestions!
So, just because I have taken a nice blog break, I hope that doesn't mean you've omitted taking daily bits of "you" time! (My absence was because I needed a little "me" time...aka catching up on school work!)
Today's form of self-care is something that most of us love doing-- if not in public then at least in the car or the privacy of our own home. It's DANCING! This might sound slightly ridiculous to some, but you should never underestimate the power of dancing and its mood-altering potency.
Dancing has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:
What I love most about dancing is that it allows you to be connected and present in your body, BUT you are also able to vacate. It's an usual combo-- usually, in order to be present you must sit with your thoughts, which is extremely healthy, but some people avoid it if they have unresolved internal "junk" they're either subconsciously or consciously trying to dodge. Vacating is great because it does allow you to get away from reality for a bit. With everything, there's always a necessary balance. If you find yourself going from activity to activity, leaving yourself with little to no time for reflection, or being "in your body/ present", maybe consider asking yourself why. But, this is why dancing is so wonderful because you stay in your body and are able to set aside what's bothering you and simply feel the music and the steps.
There are many ways that you can fit a little dancing in your life. Some great examples are Zumba, local or online dance classes, various PlayStation and Xbox video games, and the easiest: play your radio, stereo, iPod and just dance! I have had the urge to take tap for probably 10 years and this blog has pushed me to ask around and find a tap teacher. I've had the shoes for maybe four years and now is the time! So, stay tuned for horrifying/ hysterical clips of my progress! My hope is to get my adorable niece to take classes with me (she is the adorable babe in the video above). Another way I implement this in my world is occasionally going to a local dance hall, Legends, and attempt to learn the new "trendy" line dances...it isn't pretty, but it's really fun!
Do you enjoy dancing!? In the comments below, let me know what form of dance you prefer and where you like to bust it out!
This particular form of self-care helps your skin's natural repair process, reduces your chance for blemishes, improves your skin's texture, allows your skin to easily absorb and retain moisture and vitamins from your skincare products, AND (my personal favorite) Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley claim they owe their gorgeous, youthful skin to this regimen! No, it's not some expensive laser treatment or high-dollar magical product, it's EXFOLIATING.
Some may avoid scrubs because they have dry, problematic skin, but, really, using it during these winter months is one of the best times of the year to keep up...and the kind of exfoliator is everything. Removing layers of dead skin removes the barricade blocking your skin product's healing powers and allows your body to ramp cell-turnover (producing new skin cells, repairing damaged skin).
Finding the right kind of exfoliator is important because the bad stuff, full of harsh, drying ingredients is why this regimen sometimes gets a bad rep. Some of my favorite options are Himalaya's Purifying Neem Face Pack, available at most health food grocers, and Joanna Vargas's Exfoliating Mask, available online. They're my top picks because of their pure ingredients and both double as a mask + scrub.
My other favorite option is good ol' DIY: coffee grinds and coconut oil. What's great about this homemade coconut coffee scrub is that it costs very little and it comes with the same fabulous benefits of many pricey store-bought options. You can utilize your used coffee grinds from that day, the caffeine will give your skin a nice temporary tighten, and both ingredients offer your skin antioxidants! The coconut oil also offers loads of moisture, antimicrobial power, fighting bacteria that causes blemishes, and it contains nourishing & protective vitamin E, reducing the effects of aging. Hopefully, you have quality coffee and coconut oil at home-- if you don't, I would suggest opting for organic...remember: you're detoxifying your face so, the last thing you want to do is dampen your efforts by attempting to do so with products containing toxins. Simply take a spoon full of grinds with a spoon full of oil, mix together by rubbing hands together over sink, and rub mixture onto face and neck (or entire body) in circular motions-- then, rinse clean with warm water!
Remember: your face shouldn't be the only part of your body receiving this loving attention! Spoil yourself by scrubbing yourself from head-to-toe! Since I have sensitive skin, I typically only exfoliate once a week-- although, Elle and Christie's skin secret is doing it each day. Not only is this routine great for your skin, but, it also increases circulation (great for keeping you warmer in these freezing temps). SUCH a win, win, win...
Let me know how it goes! (And please, don't be shy! I have really enjoyed receiving private messages from those of you who enjoy this blog, but I would love for you to step out and comment!)
This particular post (and form of self-care) will be very short and to the point: be nice to people. By being polite, mindful, gracious to other people, you are causing a ripple effect that will surely come back to you. We all have experienced some unpleasant situations when we are just the innocent bystander caught in someone else's bad day. Take it from Taylor Swift, it's best to shake it off! Give your feelings validation if something hurt you or made you mad and then, do the unthinkable: try to correct them with kindness. I don't mean shake your finger at them, but lead by example.
If a stranger is abrasive towards you, you don't know what they're going through (which doesn't justify their attitude), but, sometimes, you have to just feel compassion for individuals who don't have the harnessed strength you may have. It's actually very sad that they let external affairs inflict and burden their day to such an extent. Turning the other cheek can be one of your most powerful tools. Like attracts like so, do everything it takes to avoid dampening your positive vibrations. No one is deserving or important enough to steal your joy and opportunity to have a great day. My dad has always said, "be a thermostat, not a thermometer" and I think it's great wisdom to put in your back pocket each morning. By being nice to people, we are allowing others to do the same.
Need some bonus inspiration? Watch Disney's Pollyanna. This movie molded me at a very young age and is definitely the most impactful piece of cinema I've seen! I'm completely serious, it will change you.
If you want to get involved and make an even bigger impact, join the "DUDE. be nice." movement...really great cause and really cool t-shirts.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the early bird catches the worm, and Benjamin Franklin once said, "The early morning has gold in its mouth." For years, people have tried to figure out what makes a businessman a "tycoon", a mom "super", or an athlete a "champion". A lot of these answer seekers have come up with one hypothesis: it all lies in their morning ritual. So, for today's form of self-care: create a morning routine!
There is so much opportunity in the early morning. You are able to get your head on straight, feed yourself some nourishment that will successfully energize you, and tie up any loose ends that could potentially dampen your day. Many successful people have thing in common and it's that they start their day early. This isn't so much me challenging you to wake up at 5:00 every morning, but to make sure you're giving yourself enough time to prep for your day, before you step out the door in the morning, and, also, that this time is quality time.
In my opinion, I don't know that it's so much that these successful people are getting a competitive advantage because of the extra hours, I think it must have to do with the fact that just as soon as you wake up, you are much more in-tune with your subconscious, or "superconscious". Your subconscious is said to be the part of your brain that holds your "geniusness". If you are able to harness the power of your subconscious mind, you could access all of your most creative, feasible ideas...and, even, where those lost set of keys are! I don't like to rewrite what's already been written well so, if you want the full lowdown, this is a great article explaining it here.
Now, to the self-care part! Whether you like to read, exercise, or find it practical to do your food prep in the morning, I suggest you pick a healthy routine that works for you, keeps you as calm as possible, and stick with it. One of the lecturers at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition boasts the benefits of writing in a journal first thing after you open your eyes. "Morning pages, created by Julia Cameron, are an empowering tool used to cultivate creativity and personal transformation. The idea is to wake up and immediately write a few pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts. The purpose of writing in the early morning rather than the evening is significant, as it allows you to capture your thoughts before your ego is awake and your usual defenses are in place. Your vulnerability in the early morning allows you to write truthfully and purposefully. Morning Pages are like a tough love friend - they encourage you to face your aversions and urge you to take action on your own behalf."
Prayer, meditation, visualization, and affirmations are all things I try to rotate in my routine. They are a great way to reinforce priorities and stay mindful of your intentions. Visualizing a successful day before you have it is such a valuable tool; especially if you have a big day ahead of you with potential stressors like a big meeting or proposal you want to excel at. Many athletes and businesspeople swear by this technique.
Some of my other A.M. loves: starting my day with a tall glass of water, brewing a cup of tea or making a delicious Bulletproof coffee in the morning (if I'm needing to be particularly productive or peppy), and getting/ giving love to my dog, Eloise.
Your mornings hold so much powerful potential! Do you fill that time with meaningful or nourishing activities? Do you have a morning routine, an early riser ritual, or crave a new change? Let me know in the comments below!
When I decided to start eating clean, I never realized the domino effect that would take place. Once you being eliminating nonsense from your diet, your body begins slowly cleansing itself from built up toxins. The first time I really noticed a difference, other than the immediate gift of amplified energy and not having to diet anymore, I kid you not, was when I went for a run along the river. I was honestly amazed. The colors where SO much brighter than normal...it was a mind-blowing distraction during my entire run because I kept wondering, "what in the world is going on?"! Then, I finally traced it to my lifestyle change. I think it had to do with multiple factors. One, it was a little bit of a meta-physical outcome-- a change of perspective and a brighter outlook. Two, by eliminating chemicals and faux food from my diet, my senses were amplified and I sort of became superhuman and capable of seeing in technicolor! Some of the other things I experienced: balanced mood, reduced stress and anxiety, clearer skin, no more brain fog, memories, ideas, and words were much more accessible, and no more 4:00 slump!
Sadly, this is how all humans should function, but most of America is cheating itself because we've slowly began feeding our bodies "matter" that contains more engineered ingredients than real food. (This is actually what has gotten many companies to legally not be able to call their chicken "chicken", beef "beef", and cheese "cheese"...I'm talking to you KFC, Taco Bell, and Kraft!) Eating is a means to nourish and replenish your body with supplementation. Pure and simple. I used to think that by eating "healthy", I would have to eat lettuce and string beans...void of any lovely flavor or enjoyment. Or, if I wanted to lose weight, I would be "healthy" by eating 100 Calorie Packs, Lean Cuisines, and Subway. Now, I just call that eating "skinny". There is nothing really healthy about it. I learned that the hard way.
I began deteriorating a little over three years ago. From the outside, I'm sure I seemed fine. I worked really hard to keep a trim figure and stayed VERY active at the gym. But, I started feeling all sorts of unfavorable symptoms across the board. These symptoms became so debilitating that I no longer felt like myself and I was so desperate that I gave up all of the foods I cherished...so I thought. After an interesting and eye-opening few years, I learned A LOT. I learned that these "frankenfoods", sugar, and processed carbs had caused my body to have system-wide inflammation, which caused me to accumulate an auto-immune disorder. That's why my body started to malfunction. My life was forever changed. The most exciting thing of all is that I realized, in order to get and stay slim, you can eat PILES of delicious and flavorful food! You don't even have to stray far from what you're used to. Eat steak, butter, muffins, pasta, cookies, casseroles, and, even, gummy bears! BUT and this is a HUGE but, you have to pay attention to the quality and the ingredients. Where food is sourced, what it was raised on, what it is treated with, etc. ALL plays a massive role in either contributing to your health in a positive or negative way! Your body metabolizes one hamburger completely different from another. One could actually contribute to your health and one could contribute to your early demise.
So, what exactly is "eating clean"? Eating clean, to me, is eating food in its purest form, free from anything man made in a lab. Some of the words not associated with clean eating are GMOs, heavy pesticides, processed, refined, hydrogenated, high fructose...I could go on and on. Also, keeping in mind, if you can't understand what's on the label, your body isn't going to understand it either. If someone had to create a name you can't pronounce for it, it's probably not real food. Another tip: if the item you're buying is something as pure as coconut milk and there are four ingredients on the label, that's unnecessary. Just keep it simple.
Please note: I am not suggesting you throw out your pantry or never eat fast-food again, but I am going to challenge you to start reading food labels. NOT the calories or fat, but the actual ingredients! The only thing I do suggest gazing at is the sugar content, which will eventually be in a blog post of its own.
I realize, this may be a heavy post because it is challenging you to consider switching things up a bit so, I'm offering Tulsans a little loving treat! Sign up below to take a complimentary grocery store tour. January 16th at 9 AM. (I will email you with more details.) If you don't live in the Tulsa area but would like some pointers, contact me for some free resources!
So, I have been on the very common roller-coaster ride when it comes to fitness. I have been in life stages when I was working out all of the time, working out some, or not at all. Many of us come up with excuses and experience this never ending battle of internal dialog about "should I go?", "I'm really tired", "I'm too hungry right now." A long while back, I was watching the Ellen Show and she said something that hasn't left me, (paraphrasing of course), "there is never a time when you make yourself go work out and regret doing so afterward". I tested this theory and it is 100% true. Once you get over the mental hurdle, you're always satisfied that you pushed yourself...leaving you with an improved body and a bonus sense of accomplishment, mostly thanks to the endorphins pumping through your veins! Another great quote, "Food is the most overused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant." Part of this theory has been tested by many reputable scholars, including Harvard Medical School, and it has proven to be very useful for people suffering from depression and anxiety. Click here for the article. So, if getting slim and toned wasn't enough of an incentive, it definitely does wonders to improve your overall sense of well being.,,among a host of other benefits.
This particular entry is in response to one of the top excuses or reservations I hear from clients, "I hate the gym" and/ or "I can't afford a gym membership". A solution: explore the opportunities of working out at home! What I love about this task is that it alleviates many of the concerns about working out: child care, shortage of time, finances, physical insecurities, and creeps who lurk and loiter. There are SO many affordable and free options these days-- you can't avoid getting at least 15 minutes in a day. Your heart and body will thank you for it.
Some of my favorite options are Daily Burn, Body Building, and many YouTube personalities geared towards women and men. What's great about Daily Burn and Body Building is that they both offer customized training programs for your personal fitness goals and track you along the way. I am currently a Daily Burn subscriber and really enjoy it so far! (Love pilates with Andrea Speir.) You even get to decide on your workout, based on if you just have time for 15 minutes, 30, or more. When you sign up, you get a 30 day trial and it costs $12.99 a month after. (This is the only option that costs anything but you don't have to pay an initial membership fee and can cancel at any time, without penalties.)
Some of these options do require access to more equipment than others-- so, depending on what you choose, you could be looking at an affordable, one-time investment for basics like a yoga mat, dumbbells, and a medicine ball. All of these class videos are accessible on a computer, apps for most smartphones, and/or TV, if it's connected to your internet.
Lastly, another option: you can kick it old school with some classic workout videos! I love Mari Winsor pilates DVDs and you can't go wrong with Billy Blanks Tae Bo...actually, I guess you can go wrong if you have certain mobility problems. Which reminds me, I should probably put this out there just in case: if you are considering a new exercise routine and have health concerns, I suggest that you ask your doctor before pursuing. There, I am legally off the hook now : )
I have personally tested all of these forms of at-home fitness entertainment (with the exception of all of the YouTube channels) and have had a lot of fun with them and think you will too! Getting into a routine is your best bet-- so, if you can, I would suggest deciding on weekly standing dates with yourself. Pick designated days and a specific time slot to just decide you WILL be showing up. Also a fun option: grab a friend, or a handful of friends, and rotate hosting a fitness date! This is an especially awesome option for moms who could take advantage of the double opportunity to fit in a fun workout together, while letting their kids enjoy a play date.
A mind hack I love to use when I'm really tired is that I tell myself I'll just work out for 15 minutes. 100% of the time, I'll exceed that time limit. BUT, even just 15 minutes a day will impact your fabulous physique.
Do you have a home routine that you love? Please share below!
Update: While I do love some of these virtual trainers, I am not always totally in love with most of their diet recommendations. Daily Burn is okay, but I am a firm believer that vegetables should really be emphasized during each meal. If you would like specific personal recommendations, I would be happy to help!
Today, I woke up with that not-so-fabulous congested, lump in my throat feeling. (I'll spare going into any more detail.) On a normal day, I would consider staying home and resting up, but since it has been a long holiday weekend, I decided to get with it and play medicine woman. (Something I enjoy on the regular.) I grabbed my tried and true coconut oil, scooped a heaping spoonful, and let it dissolve in my mouth. After swooshing the oil in my mouth for about 15 minutes (like mouthwash), while doing my usual morning routine, I spit it out in the toilet, used my alcohol-free mouth wash, copper tongue scraper, and brushed my teeth...I promise it isn't as tedious as it seems. Low and behold, I went from feeling like a 3 to a 7! This Ayurvedic practice and very useful form of self-care is called Oil Pulling. How did it help? Not only does oil pulling help detoxify your mouth, which is what its most known for, it also reduces inflammation in your oral cavities and sinuses.
This isn't the first time this ancient remedy has come through. I've been doing it for three years to whiten my teeth, promote clear skin, and insure oral health...and it made me remember why I used to do it daily! Instead of re-writing what's been written by many, here is a wonderful article by Dr. Axe explaining in detail how it works, the benefits, and thorough instructions!
Some clients have shared that the process of the coconut oil going from solid to liquid grosses them out-- in that case, I suggest melting it in a pan first, or just opting for another oil such as sesame oil or olive oil. Just like most things I talk about, quality is everything! I suggest using organic (pesticide free), extra-virgin (extracted with a machine and not chemicals), and cold-pressed (it hasn't been treated with high temperatures, compromising its quality). Getting the cleanest oil available is especially important when it comes to oil pulling because one of the main purposes is to eliminate toxins...the same toxins that come from foods that are laced with pesticides and chemicals.
So, give it a shot, see what you think, and check back to let me know how it goes in the comments below! (I usually see teeth whitening results after just a few uses!)
Growing up, weekends were for chores, errands, and play and Sundays were for church, lunch, and naps. Even if you're not a particularly religious person, the weekend, in many cultures and religions hold our day of rest, or "Sabbath". Why it's consistently practiced by many (including those who practice Wicca, apparently) is because it's so very necessary. We all need at least one day to reset our body.
Some of us have different ideas and and ideals when it comes to this rest and reset thing. While I am not about to bash anyone who has a weekly tradition of "Sunday Funday" (a carafe of mimosas followed by a Bloody Mary buffet), I do want to touch on one thing...this one thing has nothing to do with moral fiber! Unless you are as mystical as a unicorn and can tolerate copious amounts of alcohol without feeling the aftermath of blahness and compromised productivity on Monday morning, this doesn't pertain to you. But, those of you who are in the majority and don't fall into this somewhat miraculous category: for the sake of your wonderful self, if you do participate in this tradition and it has you feeling a little blue, empty, or debilitated, maybe reconsider it. There's nothing wrong with a few mimosas, but if any voluntary activity happens to come with a negative backlash, in any shape or form, I wholeheartedly hope that you try to tap into your motive and see if it can be satisfied with a more beneficial pastime. The weekend is for nurturing yourself. What that means to you is probably completely different from the next person, but just be sure it is actually helpful or encouraging in your development.
I am also not going to suggest that people forgot scrumptious stacks of pancakes on Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon chicken fried steaks, but I will just put the thought in your head: while allowing your body to rest on the weekend, maybe giving your intestines a day of rest could be equally valuable? We put loads of responsibility on our livers, depending on what we eat and drink, and autoimmunity starts in the gut. Do I fast every Sunday? Nope, I don't. While fasting is probably the optimum choice for most, I rarely go that extreme, but I also never dub the weekend my "cheat days". I think that can be a slippery slope and I believe that working to achieve balance is always the perfect long-term and short-term goal.
(If you're interested in learning how to make healthier alternatives to things like pancakes and chicken fried steak, I'm your girl and would love to schedule a complimentary consultation to chat about how I can help you with your lifestyle goals and any other related interests you may have!)
So, to tie this all together. The purpose of this blog is to give you the opportunity to refine yourself from the inside out via forms of self-care-- so that you can step out into this world as the optimized version of yourself. Redefining your days of rest is the perfect chance for you to ask yourself if you're needing some down time because maybe the week was hectic or, maybe, you're needing to make up for not exerting yourself enough during the week and need some face time? (...and by "face time", I don't mean FaceTime.) Maybe you need to take these days to play catch-up on FUN or catch up on sleep?
What is your idea of rest or reset?...while keeping with the nurturing side of self-care. Please share in the comment space below!
(Also, for those of you in the world of retail, restaurants, etc., I am not leaving you out! I know your schedule may be inconsistent but consistently during the weekends. So, your weekday off is still considered your day of reset.)
While I know how important consistency is on a blog, I also hold the very important responsibilities of working full-time and devoting myself thoroughly to my IIN studies! I try to post each week, but, sometimes, that just doesn't happen....which is why I feel the need to remind you to give yourself grace, patience, and a break. Let's just say this topic is autobiographical.
Giving yourself grace is an extremely important form of love. Exercising forgiveness and avoiding that inner voice of criticism and shame is one of the most freeing and generous gifts you can give yourself (and to other people). The "shoulds" and "buts" hold no real value if you're A. Referring to the past and/or B. Are already trying. You know your heart. So, stop thinking about "buts" and quit "shoulding" all over yourself! It's not conducive or supportive to your bigger picture-- especially if you're already living by the "bird by bird" task protocol. There's only so much we can accomplish in a day.
Life can be heavy, there's no room for shame-- just learn, assess your actions, and try something differently next time. Most of all, cut yourself some slack. A personal example: instead of criticizing myself about not writing consistent blog entries, I am deciding to use this as fuel to make a little change. I now know that instead of attempting to write and post these each week, I am going to write multiples when I am in a writing mood and/or if I get a bunch of ideas at once, and voila! Something a little less taxing, still productive, and I am going to let myself off the hook (guilt free) because, moving forward, I will be doing things differently. See, that's true love and self-care!
Given the theme of this form of self-care, I am going to give myself a break and keep this short and sweet. I was going to go into the health reasons as to why it is important to avoid shaming and criticizing yourself, but I'm going to bake instead. If you would like the information on how negative thinking really and truly makes an impact on your body: premature aging, imbalanced hormones, anxiety, etc. and the magnificent power of your thoughts and words, enter your email below and I will e-mail you some really fascinating resources!
*If you didn't have a chance to read the initial post to explain the kick-off for this New Year blog series, please catch up below...it's good stuff.
I figured I would start off this series of self-care with something very simple but oh-so-important! (And extremely appropriate for anyone recovering from New Year's Eve.) Drink water. Many people underestimate the power of getting enough water each day. Approximately 60-75% of your body is made up of water and your brain is approx. 85% water-- so, you can imagine that dehydration could have a substantial impact on your health.
The amount of water you should consume daily typically varies on a few factors including your activity level and the temperature, but I try to drink half of my weight in ounces each day. I usually start my morning by drinking a glass of spring water. Spring water is naturally more alkaline, which combats inflammation in the body. Sometimes, if I'm feeling the need for bonus detox or a little energy boost, I'll add fresh lemon or lime juice. If I am feeling a little rough and need an immunity booster, I'll add organic granulated turmeric. This little act of self-care is a wonderful morning ritual mostly because you have gone without water for 7-8 hours-- so, making sure you properly hydrate your organs (brain) and intestines is imperative if you want to feel energized and balanced. You also want to get a jump start on cleansing your body of impurities from the get-go. Some of the not-so-obvious symptoms of dehydration are backaches, headaches, poor digestion, fatigue, problematic skin, confusion, sugar cravings, and moodiness. It's also best to drink it steadily throughout the day, to maximize absorption. But, also, try to taper off a few hours before you plan on going to bed, to insure a solid night's rest.
If you're not a fan of water, it's okay! Not so long ago, I had to teach myself to drink it again by flavoring it with a variety of organic fruit and vegetable infusions. Some of my favorites: fresh basil, mint, sliced cucumber, lemon and lime wedges. You can also add a little bit of pure stevia for a clean and refreshing mocktail. Quick tip: it's best to let the prepared ingredients soak in water overnight for optimum flavor...and have some fun with your flavor combinations!
The quality of your water is definitely something to consider. The more alkaline the water, the better. I prefer spring because of the taste and it usually doesn't test high for acidity. I also take my own containers to my local Natural Grocers, where you can fill up a gallon jug for 25 cents. Most popular bottled water is highly acidic and unfortunately, you have to consider traces of BPA from the plastic. The great news is that there many water filters on the market that are not only useful in removing impurities, but, also, help reduce waste in the environment. In order to find the best filter, it is important to know which contaminants are present in your water. Research your city’s Consumer Confidence Report released each year by the Environmental Protection Agency to see if home purification is necessary. If possible, tap water should be avoided in most cities because of the high traces of chlorine, fluoride, led, and bacteria. If you live in the Tulsa area, check out our (not so fabulous) report: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/420250/2015TulsaCCR.pdf
Lastly, if you've been noticing some unwanted wrinkles and haven't given water the attention it deserves, happy day! Your skin is an organ too and when it's properly hydrated, you will naturally look more smooth and supple! So, grab a BPA-free, aluminum-free jug, fill it up, and DRINK UP!
(These articles may seem a little doom and gloom, but my intention is to leave negativity off of this blog altogether and, when the time is right, sporadically give you studies to empower you to make educated decisions for yourself!)
Americans are ingesting from 300 to 600 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers a “safe” amount.
As if the more than 70,000 identified contaminants in your water supply were not enough , you also have to deal with the pollutants your local and national governments add to your water supply.
*photo cred: Alicja Colon
I have consistently had the struggle to keep it all together. Not that keeping it all together is even really possible. There's this wonderful quote I recently heard saying something like "even the person who has all of their shit together is still standing in it". Nonetheless, keeping it together has always been something I strived for. This term, in short, pretty much means keeping up appearances, consistently. It also means having more days when you, your home, your car, habits, and routine look polished, well-oiled, and productive and less days when you look and live like a slob kabob. It's not so much for vanity's sake but I truly believe that once you routinely incorporate the steps it takes to "keep it together", (the same steps that also just so happen to result in a visibly pleasing outcome), you show up in life with your best foot forward...boldly and enthusiastically. That type of energy attracts all sorts of wonderful and then, the domino effect commences! Once you master one thing, you're more likely to be mindful of another, and since that feels so good, why not add a few other feel-good accomplishments to the pile?!
I am lucky enough to have a handful of fabulous friends. This group of people, like me, regularly discusses how they need to get back into their gym routine, or they need to get some color on their skin, or they need to make a habit of a spiritual practice: church, meditation, etc! We all have some pretty hectic schedules...especially compared to what it was like in high school. Living in the grown up world of consistent jobs, errands, bills, and priorities that keep the lights on and a roof over our heads takes up a majority of our adult day. While we can't walk away from those necessary priorities, or "adulting", we can make sure we still give ourselves the attention we deserve. Yes, life gets hectic but in the grand scheme of things, if you're too busy working your ass off, it's not that you can't afford to master self-care, but, really, you can't afford to not to master self-care. A chance to recoup and honor yourself with some daily love is as valuable as it gets. What is all of that hard work really for if you don't enjoy your everday? Time is precious, yes, but I think serving yourself a nice, hot slice of "you" time on the daily will not only have an impact on your happiness, but, also, your income! Those daily treats, in the long run, can make you even more productive because of that wonderful sense of clarity that comes with regulated cortisol (the stress hormone).
So, my idea. This year, I am going to debut a new blog series called 365 Days of Self-Care: How to Make 2016 Your Bitch. (I apologize if profanity offends anyone but the title made me laugh too hard not to use it.) This series will focus on the many forms of self-care that you can treat yourself with on the daily. I have gathered the consensus that many people have massive reservations about making resolutions because they don't want to set themselves up for failure. I get it. You've set these goals before and end up feeling defeated before the end of January. I've been there too. With this series, you're not setting yourself up for any realm of failure because you can incorporate one form of daily TLC that will take you very little time and will contribute to your bigger picture...you becoming even more awesome!
To be honest, I am looking forward to this as a form of accountability. I have mastered clean eating & listening to my body, I am in the ever-evolving process of honoring myself, and now, I would like to treat myself like I deserve to be treated via pampering, love, and FUN! So, please join me in this pursuit! Expect a lot of embarrassing videos, exciting tutorials, hopefully some pounds shed, stress melted, healthy habits adopted, and delicious recipes tasted! Can't wait!
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*photo cred TTFMag