Perfect paired with a hot cup of coffee, these cookies are a great healthier swap for the traditional breakfast indulgences: pancakes, waffles, donuts. Bonus: they’re grab-and-go AND they’re easy to meal prep!
Sure, those sweet and creamy Frappuccinos served at Starbucks sometimes SOUND like the perfect pick-me-up, but with a whopping 52 grams of sugar, it can cause insulin spikes, fat storage, energy crash, and a feast for bad bacteria in your gut. If they still sound appetizing, I suggest measuring out 13 teaspoons of sugar for a more vivid picture! THIS lovely alternative is definitely worth trying AND after the purchasing all of the ingredients (which can all be found at Costco), you do end up saving money in the long run.
No life story. Just a recipe I came up with. Only thing I’ll say, it would be good with 1/4-1/3 cup chopped walnuts!
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
- 2 Cups brown rice flour
- 2 3/4 Cups organic rolled oats
- 1/2 Cup organic butter (1 stick, softened) or coconut oil
- 3 organic eggs
- 1 Cup organic brown coconut sugar
- ½ of 9 oz. bag Hu Chocolate Gems
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt or pink salt
Preheat oven and bake at 375. Fully mix all ingredients together. Scoop approx. a golf ball size of dough and lightly flatten into a disk. The cookies will grow as they bake so make sure they're about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown.
This is one of my favorite juice brands because they have low glycemic options! ESPECIALLY when I travel, I want to get the most out of my juices..which means not downing a bunch of sugar. Even when a juice has no sugar added, since you’re consuming fruit without a lot of the fiber, it can still cause insulin spikes. (Fiber helps slow the sugar absorption.) They also have a very cleansing juice with just celery and lemon juice.
Traveling for work, doing fashion seminars and visuals, has become a very frequent occurrence in the past few years and it is my mission to always find clean eateries in all locales! Here are a few of my NYC favorites (of course my salads weren’t exciting enough to capture, BUT these are picks I’ll definitely revisit).
I will also add: WALKING is one of the best opportunities in NY. So, if you’re there for business or pleasure, I challenge you to walk everywhere, if you can help it! It’s multitasking. You’re able to get in your steps and take in the sites.
Click on the image to view the caption!
Because I haven’t been too great at keeping up with social media AND a blog, I’m going to start uploading highlights from my Instagram! My stories usually are a mix of my day— which include a little bit of everything, BUT always include lifestyle and wellness tips!
So happy I finally gave this a shot. It was actually a happy accident that I even felt prompted to make granola! I’ve been on an açaí bowl kick (I think I’m lacking vitamin C) and went to buy the ingredients, but failed to pick up something with a crunch to top it with. (I’m all about texture.)
Luckily, I had everything I needed, did my typical recipe searches— to get a baseline idea on how long to cook/ what temp, and threw this together!
One issue I’ve had with buying granola is that it commonly contains SO much sugar. Most companies use cane sugar (usually, in addition to other sugars), making your breakfast contain upwards of 6 TEASPOONS of sugar per serving. (Every 4 grams equals a teaspoon.) And I’m talking refined sugar..which makes an even bigger impact on your insulin, WHICH triggers “fat storage mode”, among other unfavorable things. This is why I prefer the moderate to low glycemic, natural sweeteners AND by making your own, you’re able to modify the amount of sweetness...in addition to adding bonus ingredients like superfood powders: cacao, collagen, etc. and bonus seasoning, nuts, you name it.
*I do like Purely Elizabeth’s granola (she graduated from my school) because she uses brown coconut sugar. But, over the years, I have watched her prices climb to $7-9 a bag. So, if you’re in a bind and don’t want to fix it yourself, that brand is a great option! But it really is so simple, I’m happy to take it on myself for a fraction of the price!
Waking up (the good kind of) sore has become a frequent occurrence since starting Barre last May. I’m not going to lie, the first class was VERY humbling. I usually gravitate towards physical activities that give me a little confidence boost and while I have improved quite a bit, I still have a LONG way to go before I can fully complete each exercise in a class with proper body positioning. (In high school, I worked out at gym associated with a nearby hospital. So, for a while, I was accustomed to feeling like a total champion, working out next to adorable elderly people.)
Growing up in a family of chiropractors, I’m always very conscious that when I’m pushing myself in a workout, I’m not doing anything that will compromise the alignment of my spine or has potential to put excess strain/stress on my body. In Barre, the movements are very small, but successfully able to fully activate specific muscle groups. I have never felt so much isolated burn in my entire life and I’ve tried it ALL. As challenging as it is, each movement is still harmonious with your bodies’ range of movement. So, even though I was extremely vulnerable during the first handful of classes, (I have always had very tight hamstrings and weaker upper body strength), I really loved that there was SO much opportunity for improvement. I was also really psyched that I was able to feel and SEE results so quickly after making a commitment to go consistently. I have real calves, guys. This isn't an easy feat.
The other bonus that comes with participating in a form of movement that is unfamiliar or feels foreign to you is that you're opening yourself up energetically and spiritually. It allows you to exercise not just your body, but the intention to grow.
So, I challenge YOU, if you have a Barre studio in your area, go give it a try! Most studios will have some sort of trial opportunity or introductory offer. If I am sampling a certain service or workout, I frequently utilize resources like Groupon or Living Social, to avoid too much of a financial investment.
Have you tried barre before? Comment in the section below...I'd love to hear about your experience!
I can't express HOW easy meal prep can actually be! These options are two of my very favorite things to fix because they will provide quite a few meals and it's just a matter of dumping a bunch of healthy and delicious ingredients together, letting them sit (soup obviously requires heat and the chia pudding is chilled), and YOU'RE DONE! It fixes itself.
Both are very versatile and you can switch up the ingredients as you see fit! I won't list the soup options because vegetable/ meat/ grain options are endless, but chia pudding can be enjoyed with cinnamon, cooked fruit, raw fruit, cocoa powder, a little honey or maple syrup, (I prefer unsweetened, but with fruit!), shaved coconut...the list goes on and on.
Give meal prep a try! Your future self will thank you for it.
Sure, coffee is the traditional get-up-and-go, it contains beneficial antioxidants, but, for some, it’s a cup of anxiety. Coffee doesn’t actually provide energy, the caffeine just stimulates your adrenals, causing that jolt everyone seems to crave. But when you get that jump, in conjunction with the potential morning stressors, it can sometimes make you boil over.
You’re reading your email and find that you shoulders are tightening, you’re taking audible breaths, maybe even feeling a tinge of anxiety...this all could be caused by fight-or-flight and/or too much adrenaline, which could eventually result in adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a tricky one to come back from because it actually causes you to feel exhausted and lethargic and in order to reconcile your tired adrenals, you’re required to stop caffeine altogether! (Reaching this point usually means coffee/ caffeine doesn’t have its usual kick to get you out of your slump anyway.)
This topic is very familiar for me because, typically, I know that coffee is too much for my system. Depending on the day, it can even trigger an anxiety attack and the unfavorable shakes. I love the taste of coffee, particularly fair-trade organic options that are roasted evenly, so that they don’t harvest mold (a popular issue with coffee beans). I also try to find low-acid options, but even all of those upgrades still don’t change what coffee can do to your adrenals. For me, I start to see the effects of it on my face and, unfortunately, I’m the type of person who sometimes requires signs of visible distress in order to finally put a stop to unsupportive behaviors.
So, the alternatives! Weirdly enough, most people respond much differently to the caffeine found in tea. Some of this has to do with the fact that different types of tea contain different volumes of caffeine (some herbal is caffeine free, white tea usually contains the least, green tea lies in the middle, and black tea yields the highest amount of caffeine, along with green matcha). Also, caffeine has a variety of different strains so, some can be more steadily processed by the body. (Bulletproof coffee claims to have that as one of its perks...not causing you to peak and crash.)
Experimenting with different teas can have a variety of perks. Most boast loads of health benefits and you’re able to access your inner medicine woman, seeking certain types for your particular ailments. During my sister’s pregnancy, I found a way to amp her protein intake (my mom says it’s so important because you’re building a baby brain) by making her hemp mylk lattes with an assortment of different herbal teas. It’s super simple and so delicious. Hemp is an amazing source of protein, containing a whopping 10 grams per tablespoon! That’s about as much as a large hard boiled egg. Hemp also contains the oh-so-healing omega-3 fatty acids, along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
To make a hemp mylk latte, your first step is to brew a cup of tea...I like to steep mine a little longer since you’ll be dilluting it with the mylk. In a blender, add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to approximately 1/4 cup of hot water. I like to add pure stevia (like Sweet Leaf) or a little bit of raw, organic, local honey. If you have vanilla bean, cinnamon, collagen protein, or any other health boosters, those are great add-ons too! Last, BLEND. (It also works to pour your brewed tea with the desired ingredients and blend, but you just want to make sure all of the little hemp seeds are blended fully to reach the desired smooth/ creamy consistency.) Once it’s complete, this tea even has a nice froth to it so, you’re not missing a thing!
Another great option is a blended, chilled matcha latte shown below! Not only is matcha delicious, it also comes with a barrel of health benefits!
Note: I DO still drink coffee, but never more than 2 cups a day. I am also very careful to take an inventory of how I’m feeling and what I’m taking on that day. If it’s a particularly stressful time, I just avoid it. I also never drink coffee before a flight or speaking engagements because those already make me nervous so, pouring some adrenaline on that would not be supportive!
Check out this stunning Montessori kindergarten. Obviously the aesthetic is so pleasing, but I think a lot of kids would thrive in a tidy environment, free of too much clutter and stimuli. With the way most classrooms are designed in the U.S., one might assume there's solid evidence that all children would excel in an environment with bold, primary colored banners, posters, vibrant educational rugs, etc.
The Montessori page Wikipedia states that "Montessori education involves free activity within a "prepared environment", meaning an educational environment tailored to basic human characteristics, to the specific characteristics of children at different ages, and to the individual personalities of each child. The function of the environment is to help and allow the child to develop independence in all areas according to his or her inner psychological directives." "The environment should exhibit the following characteristics:
Sources: design-milk.com and Wikipedia.com
Living in LA and being pretty plugged in to all things "wellness", I have the fun opportunity come across some PRETTY unique health trends! (Food, drink, cleanses, shots, diets, detoxes...you name it.) Many of them are great in theory, BUT they can also be tedious and/or very pricey!
Recently, I noticed a special for a celery juice detox at Pressed Juicery. If you're unfamiliar with Pressed, it was definitely responsible for creating the re-emergence of the juice trend. In 2010, they created a very successful business offering a variety of body-boosting juices and shots, also offering a delivery subscription service to locals. While I love Pressed Juicery, I don't personally subscribe to their juice delivery/ pick-up. On one hand, I LOVE them because they are responsible for also creating my very favorite lifestyle website for the past 6 years, The Chalkboard Mag. This website sparked something inside of me and led me to where I am now. Another pro about the company is that one of the owners also graduated from my school, IIN! Why I don't personally buy their subscription service for juices is because it can be quite pricey and, unfortunately, the produce isn't organic. Now that the back story is out of the way...
Even though I am a huge fan of making celery-based soups, knowing their amazing detoxifying powers, I kind of thought the only reason for marketing JUST celery juice could really only be a smart business move/ margin builder because celery is SO inexpensive, EVEN organic. So, I decided to do a little more research and there is a reason why it's so effective...even just containing one super veggie! I've said it before, but since I don't think it's worth the time re-writing what's already been well written, HERE are the full list of benefits from one of my favorite health sources! Not only have I enjoyed this morning ritual and feel truly amazing by doing so (clearer skin, more energy, flat stomach), I have now gotten quite a few people on this bandwagon who have expressed experiencing benefits including: increased clarity, relief from achy joints, quickly reduced cold symptoms, more effective elimination, etc.
So, if you've been considering implementing a new form of self-care, consider giving this one a shot! They say try it for 5-7 days to really benefit, but many who start don't want to stop!
Really, the only rule is try drinking it in the morning, on an empty stomach, so that you can reap the full alkalizing benefits. If you don't have a juicer, you can also chop the celery and add to a blender and strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth (to reduce the fibrous pulp).
IF you do decide to give this a try, please share your questions and/or experience in the comments below!
Going through the notes on my phone, I recently realized how many "note to self" drafts I have...so, I figured I'd share one! This is from late 2016-- (I honestly don't remember writing half of them).
Most people subconsciously associate eating indulgent foods with moving away from pain.
(Or, in other words, a common solution to upset, discomfort, boredom, discontent, loneliness is eating...and, usually, not the healthiest food.)
BUT participating in this behavior can usually result in the very opposite outcome because most likely, you're choosing food that can cause inflammation, create imbalance, and dilute your ability to feel good— causing pain.
At the end of the day, what feels good to you? What leads you to make one positive decision after another? Once you've found your life's purpose, do what's required to reinforce what is needed to keep showing up each day at your very best caliber. Make sure you're on it! And doing what it takes!!!!
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Don't just go with the flow, go with YOUR flow! Gently enforce (or firmly command) change. By sitting back and letting other people lead, you are essentially giving the blind a steering wheel, leaving you haphazardly along for the ride.
"Maintaining an open mind is essential when exploring the unknown, but allowing one's brains to fall out in the process is inadvisable." - Dean Radin
It takes time and effort to take care of your body. No argument here! But it’s incredibly important to find time to exercise. The benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.
Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.
Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.
1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than you would while sitting passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep itself stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.
2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.
3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Building your dream team during spring training? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the field. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.
4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!
5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”
6. Look for fitness classes close to work or home. Because my LA commute is so lengthy, finding time to get a solid workout in before or after work is very difficult. So, my current solution: find time in the middle of my workday! I took it upon myself to find something compatible with my time restraints and close to my office so that I can go during my lunch break. I have been taking Barre for a little over two weeks-- which is ABSOLUTELY out of my comfort zone, but I am able to get a full body midday boost. I have these great biodegradable cleansing wipes that allow me to freshen up quickly, change, get back to work, and eat a prepared lunch at my desk!
How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!
Energy is never lost or destroyed, only transferred!
SUCH a powerful reminder to physically AND metaphysically use your power for good, not evil. Lord knows there isn’t a shortage of negativity or hurt in this world. Particularly for who like a sense of control: conjure up some joy in yourself and others by simply being kind.
(Take it a step further and be kind even on days when you don’t feel well, have had crap luck, absorb someone else’s bad day, etc. The ripple effect is real and there’s no valid excuse to treat people, animals, and (apparently) plants 😉, less than!)
The extended title of this post should really be "Sick and Tired of Resolutions? Here's How to Change the Game with a Clean Slate...and Quit Being Sick AND Tired, Literally!" But that's entirely too long...but too perfect not to share : )
So, it's slightly stereotypical for a lifestyle/ health coach to use this time of year to really hone in on the topic of self improvement, but because it's SUCH a buzz around the New Year, I can't help but chime in!
I have had family, friends, clients, and social media followers come to me saying they’re doing the ______ diet. They either share because they want to know my thoughts, want to "school" me, they're having success, OR (and this is the most common) they want to vent and are discouraged with it. And while I think these “diets” are a great way to weed out some of the common inflammatory foods-- diets like Keto, Atkins, the Zone, Paleo, Whole 30, Bulletproof, etc. I urge you to do your own research. No, I don't mean via Google because you'll quickly get overwhelmed and realize a lot of these popular dietary theories contradict one another. I mean, do your research via trying it and checking in with your body!
As a species, humans have unique bodies, lifestyles, genes—which makes individuals require different things! Some people might actually thrive on certain kinds of dairy, while others could experience a wide array of issues. The other important factor is to recognize your upbringing, the foods you were raised on, maybe the personal and emotional struggles you could be going through.
Frequently, people want to simplify healthy eating by counting CARBS, SUGAR, FAT, and even SODIUM… unfortunately, these aren’t as simple as people want to make them. Not all forms of carbs, sugars, fats, and sodium are created equal. Learning that your body processes these things differently is HUGE. A half of a bagel has approx 24 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of sugar. A cup of sweet potato has 27 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar... so, if we were to follow the silly standard of counting the grams, one would assume the baked good consisting of yeast and processed flour is a better option, right? False. You have to consider the type and quality of the food you eat. The quality of it makes all of the difference on how your body metabolizes it and the overall impact it has on your body.
I have no real issue with popular diets like Whole 30 because I think it has sparked something in some people which results in LONG TERM health…but that’s some people....like a rare unicorn minority. With those diets, you see results after the 30 days, but my question is what is going to insure you keep up with it if you haven’t processed why you were eating imbalanced in the first place? OR why have you maybe tried losing weight but still feel bloated after some meals? So, this is where my services come in. Many people can follow a base of dietary guidelines, improve their body, and never look back, BUT I'm talking to the majority out there. It's taken me years of trial and error to figure out what foods support me and which ones that don't (some of them are even healthy foods) AND, the whammy, why I was totally addicted to forms of sugar and where my dependency rooted from. I would never be able to continue feeding myself supportive foods and stay on the straight and narrow for the past 5 years now unless I truly knew why I was tempted to indulge and dabble in behaviors that aren't supportive of me thriving and how I could change. This isn't exclusive to food, but ALL of your habits.
This is why I came up with The Clean Slate Elimination Detox. It's a super simple, step-by-step guide to pinpointing potential food intolerances, allowing you to also learn about healthy foods you may have yet to explore, AND ways to practice self-care and other positive behaviors.
While it does require discipline-- you will be eliminating the top 9 foods that people are commonly sensitive, allergic, or are intolerant to-- you will have the opportunity to slowly add these foods back into your diet to just SEE how you feel, before and after. While slimming down isn't necessarily the goal, it's usually a happy side effect! So, not only will you reap the typical benefits to eating clean for 38 days (feel lighter, brighter, clearer) you will also be empowered to fully pinpoint and eliminate the foods that aren't supportive of your unique body and may make you feel pregnant, sleepy, achy, or swollen after a meal.
I do have to say, it IS possible to NEVER diet another day in your life! I never thought that would be possible in my world because I have always been a foodie. So, while this detox is a lovely time for self awareness, health, and insight, I am not saying you will be forever changed (just like the other diets I mentioned above) UNLESS you get to the bottom of it all. For more information on what I'm talking about click here to read a related post and here to watch a detailed video!
Okay, onto the exciting part...
Click here to find out what the Clean Slate Detox Program includes!
...or “unlucky” in love, money, LIFE. Also, sadly, sometimes people are taught that because God loves you so much, He puts you through situations where you suffer to learn life’s lessons. Don’t get me wrong— I am grateful that through my pain and unfavorable trials, I have been able to help people. It is so good to always look at the bright side of crap circumstances and piece together the positive from life lessons. With that said: no one is supposed to feel like their fate is to not be able to come up for air, be able to catch a break, never fall in love, or accumulate enough money to live without struggle.
How do you make the unconscious conscious? Meditation, visualization, and keeping it real by not playing the victim. Your subconscious holds most of your power (how you function, behavioral patterns, limiting beliefs) so, tap into your subconscious and snatch your power back! If this feels far from reach or is just plain confusing (easy to be unless you know a smidge about neuroscience), contact me for a complimentary 45-minute lifestye asssessment!
Honoring yourself with proper self-care and healthy boundaries is the only way to truly grow into your God-given capabilities and potential. Imagine you are a plant. If you feed yourself soft drinks, you may stay alive, but will you really thrive? Sure, pop contains water and it may seem more appealing because it comes in a shiny can, it's sweet, and the carbonation makes it more exciting, but it will stunt your growth. Similar to toxic food, people, and behaviors— while they may be alluring, exciting, and make you feel good in the moment, they will also impair your capabilities to reach your optimum height. Toxins reduce your ability to thrive and flourish. So, when you come to a crossroads and you feel your intuition pulling at you, imagine yourself as a plant and remember: you have a choice to opt out of taking in the toxic! You deserve pure nourishment and nothing less— exercise, true love, spiritual warmth, supportive people, clean foods, and the opportunity to reach the sun!
It has been QUITE sometime since I posted a recipe so, I will be making up for lost time by posting TWO!
My intention was to have my travel/ restaurant reviews up and running (since I was eating out more than eating in during my travel season), but I'm not going lie-- I am a little overwhelmed by all of the content I need to organize! So, in the meantime, here is a simple green soup I made up one day and it turned out pretty great. (Yay for beginner's luck.) Happy tip: I ended up storing half of this batch in an airtight container, freezing it, and recently thawed it out after months and it tasted just as good as the first day I made it!
I try to bring my lunch to work as often as possible and because microwaves aren't a personal option for me, I needed something I could enjoy chilled. (Microwaves emit radiation into your food and reduce the amount of nutrients. For more science that is beyond my scope of knowledge and vocabulary click here.) So, not only was this soup a great lunch solution-- so is my Quinoa Kale salad!
This is a recipe I've made countless times for my Radiance Refinery workshops and parties I've been to-- so, it's become a popular one. Like I mention in the video, it's really versatile and fun to switch up your ingredients adding ingredients like peaches, apples, nuts, peppers, feta, etc. To create even more of a crowd pleaser, divide your quinoa in two to three bowls and create a variety of salads for people to compare and enjoy!
*Added note: I am famous for creating meals without measuring ingredients! This is one of the major reasons why I don't post more recipes, BUT I assure you, you can't really mess up these dishes! When it comes to the veggies, I basically add more of something based on my current taste preference, what I have in my fridge, and/or if I'm needing a specific vitamin! I'll add more spices depending on if I'm wanting more of a healing effect-- if you're sick or experiencing pain, load up on the anti-inflammatory spices! If you're feeling a little acidic, maybe reduce the amount of salt. Just smell and taste as you go and you really can't go wrong!
Life is made up of decision and circumstances. Some of these things are within our control and some of them are served to us. Commonly, when life gets rough, people can get consumed with thinking, "why me?"/ "doesn't God love me?"/ "why does this keep happening?"/ "why doesn't the universe have my back?", etc. While these are all valid questions to entertain, they will never equate to relief. God DOES love you...maybe that's why you're going through this horrific situation-- only to refine your level of capability, aka "awesome", for something different. I wouldn't ever considered myself a troubled person, but let's just say that struggle is most definitely not a foreign concept to me.
There have been times when people have tried to lend their support by suggesting that I was special and God was allowing these things to happen because He had SO much faith in me. Well, as kind as that is, it didn't jive with me. A majority of the time, I thought that if that were the case, I just assumed God love me a little less so that I could receive a little relief. It didn't feel right. I wasn't being singled out by God and knew I wasn't the "special" student because we're all created equal. I also knew and know that everyone has one thing in common: we all have our problems. Maybe the scale is different, but they're there. So, I did what I do best and I ANALYZED different theories until I exhausted loads of options.
At thirty years of age, here is what I've come up with. I could have been born with an internal quest to seek a life of "normalcy". Let's be real, the closest thing to "normal" is if you're participating in a stream of societal expectations, charged generational ideals, and (I hate to say it because I don't ever want to be misinterpreted for hateful, but) functioning similar to a human robot. You can't blame this ever-growing species of human because it looks like it would be pretty uncomplicated to subscribe to a life of siding with the majority, holding beliefs that don't rock the boat, and living out your days as if your actions don't matter or contribute to the ripple effect in the universe...(selfie stick in hand). I can see the appeal because I am a completely different species of person on the total opposite spectrum. Being a highly sensitive person alone makes me a rare minority. But I am a person who realizes how much of a change one person can make. The ripple effect is real. I was able to see this in action when it was brought to my attention during my schooling with IIN. The longer I was on my wellness journey, the more frequently I would realize that my friend's and family's pantries had become VERY similar to mine, stocking a lot of my favorites. This may seem little, but it isn't. What these people eat means the world to me because it adds years to their lives and if they share it, the ripple effect commences! I honestly think some of it is persuasion, but a majority is through osmosis! (Real quick: again, I am not thinking I am superior to anyone. I honestly look at some people and envy that they are entirely content living their way and are totally unaware of this notion altogether! It can get exhausting being on the other side of it!)
When I decided to make bold moves by going to FIDM and then, going to IIN, there was something stirring inside me. I couldn't accept the status quo and get a job that didn't make me feel like I was REALLY living. Like I was REALLY being of service. My saying this doesn't mean that almost every profession on the planet doesn't have a very necessary place in this world. We need people who are passionate about ALL vocations...otherwise our society would experience imbalance/ lack. For me, personally, this is just quite essential. God placed this specific mission inside of me. Living against the grain isn't easy-- it brings up all sorts of things that make life feel sort of like an uphill climb. It makes "safe" feel unsafe because while I know it's the cozier choice, I still feel the urge to choose the risk. It's sort of like on Disney's Beauty and the Beast when Bell is on horseback, trying to find her father and she comes to a fork in the road. One route looks pleasant and promising and the other looks dark and dangerous. Regardless the appearance, Bell chose the less obvious choice. This decision resulted in her being held captive and at this point, many people (including her), could have sat and asked "Why God? I listened to my gut and I'm just trying to help-- so, why is the universe doing this to me?" Well, her time at the castle wasn't always easy, BUT it resulted in her "happily ever after". I know I really took that fantasy scenario and ran with it, but it's very similar to my point...if I ever get to it!
Again, life is made up of decisions and circumstances. It's all about perspective, following our intuition, and making sure we make the best of situations we find ourselves in. Your story can impact your life in a big way. You can blame the world for your circumstances, or you can sit and see the lesson in it. You can use these pages in your life as the fuel that will drive you to success. If life serves you sad, make sure you embrace happiness that much harder. When life sends you unpleasant people, appreciate gracious people that much more. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, stop and dream up a better outcome for yourself. See yourself in a different life and take the action steps that will lead you towards that direction. Maybe you are someone who feels like you're at a dead-end and don't have the resources to get out-- sit and write out baby steps and focus on the things you DO have control over. Decide to make a shift, own responsibility of your life, and the universe WILL open up doors for you. Again, it's all about perspective. When you're looking for it with positive intent, it will present itself to you.
SO, for those of you who have felt like you've had it rough: if you're someone who lives an alternative lifestyle and feel drained or like you've missed out on what life has to offer, know that you're not alone. You ARE a special breed of human and it's SO great that you're not content with living like the majority or within the confines of common. It's not that God doesn't love you OR that God loves you more, it's just that He has sent you on a mission that takes a certain person with your special traits and life experience. A person with tenacity, with heart, an imagination, and PASSION. Some of these things could be the very characteristics people have judged you for or have told you that you need to be more practical or take it down a notch. B-o-l-o-g-n-a. That's only because those traits aren't relatable to them-- so, it doesn't make sense to them, which can sometimes make people uncomfortable. Why life could seem like it's against you is because this current world isn't really cut out for you. (My mom would say, it's like how lefties feel in a predominant right hand world.) BUT, even though, the world doesn't really accommodate our kind, it desperately NEEDS them. So, when life feels hard and you feel stuck, keep moving forward. See the beauty in your struggle because with struggle comes lovely things like breakthrough, personal evolution, and progress!
So, I have to go ahead out "out" myself. Particularly because of the last few blog posts. Not only were they posted in MAY, they were also on the topic of self-care. While that has continued to be a running theme in my life, I have to confess that I haven't earned many gold stars in this area as of late. I could definitely get gold stars for worrying about not getting enough self-care, but actual implementation: nope.
When I moved from Oklahoma to LA, I felt like I was in a storm/ time warp/ twilight zone/ hell. I was very consciousness that this time of my life would bring inevitable stress, but trying to alleviate it sort of felt like trying to meditate and get in enough exercise while there was literally and figuratively a flood happening. Everything that I knew well-- every routine, familiar face, my grocery store, squeezing my nieces (my self-regulation vices) all of it sort of got swept away. This is by no means me feeling sorry for myself because this was entirely voluntary/ self-inflicted because it was my choice to move, but the multitude of change that I had just brought on was (and still is) extremely uncomfortable.
Before I go into some of the things that have gotten me through this in one piece, I suppose I could give a little insight to the subtext as to why this was/is "uncomfortable". (Please note: I am speaking from my personal point of view and while I am absolutely sure non-HSPs probably feel a very similar way being put in these positions, I am just giving a little insight to my experience in my "special" body.) Being a highly sensitive person, my nervous system is extremely receptive to sensory/ nuance/ energy...meaning, my fight or flight mode/ sympathetic nervous system is a little trigger happy. Change in my environment means a lot of "potential danger". The more you become acclimated to a person, space, etc., you are able to process those "features", deem them safe (or not), and you are then able to come down a little and not feel so uptight and/ or irritable. Which, again, is how most humans function, but, for HSP’s, it’s all intensified.
Within the first few months of being back in LA, I acquired a fast-paced job, moved into a new apartment...after three intense weeks of searching, had someone I've known for a long time show their true (murky) colors, and found myself in a very tight schedule with very little free time. All the while, I am trying to give myself grace as I try to process, self-regulate, and come back into my body more than not. (..And keep a social life, try to maybe date, and not starve my little elderly pup, Eloise, of deserving TLC.)
I felt led to accept an exciting job where I travel half of the month and while I am unclear if this is my premature death sentence or a potentially valuable challenge, it gave me the idea that I can share my journey to staying mentally sound, physically fit, and well-- all while traveling for work (and play)! I will go more into this exiting content later, but today I am going to chat about some of the things I have done that have been extremely instrumental to making a healthy/ stable transition. Yes, I do feel that if I didn't implement these steps, the stress would have been significantly more brutal.
First, some obvious “symptoms” and red flags to look out for that might indicate that you may be living at a pace/ mind space that could be detrimental your spiritual life, personal life, and literal lifespan: when you’re feeling a little out of body, unfulfilled, tense, you have a hard time connecting, OR you find yourself looking back on previous days and can't quite picture the details and the days seem vague. Any of these sound familiar? Here are some significantly useful habits you can implement to make you feel a little more sound, secure, and present.
1. Find Time to Breathe. Like, really breathe. Those great diaphragmatic breaths where you breathe in and your stomach expands and when you breathe out, it goes back down. (Reading this description could sound elementary and instinctual, but until I studied "basic breathing" in school, I didn't realize that my body didn't do those things until I started practicing. I would force my stomach to push out, even though, air wasn't actually filling my lungs and continue until I caught a full, natural breath. To this day, I still have to frequently check in with myself and make sure I'm doing that.) REAL breathing is a great way to signal to your body that you're not in danger. You could be safe on your couch watching Netflix, but if you're taking shallow breaths, chances are, your body is still in fight or flight mode. When you're functioning with your sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight", you're in survival mode. Your body doesn't care about secreting regulated hormones, repairing damaged cells, digesting, etc. It's purely functioning to survive, releasing cortisol. This is why when you’re stressed, you’re maybe a snacker or don’t have an appetite at all-- due to your bodies' inability to release the proper amounts of your "full" and "hungry" hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Another popular repercussion is having overly active bowels or your elimination is slowed down (or off altogether). One of my favorites is looking haggard— which is how your friends clairvoyantly ask you if everything is okay because they can see it on your face— your cell turnover rate has lulled. So, this cliche tip to breathe is actually THAT important because you want to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, “rest and digest” mode, so your body functions like it's supposed to..
2. Find a Not-So-Guilty Pleasure...or two. One of my very favorite scenarios is to cook while listening to uplifting movies or music, accompanied by chilled wine glass of KeVita (fermented coconut water). This originally became a habit because I wanted to "come down" after work by drinking something without alcohol when I quit drinking for a year. I now prefer this ritual because it contributes to my health and is still an extremely effective way to relax. So, I'm not saying go grab yourself a KeVita, but take inventory of the things that really give back to your body and allow you to feel at ease. Whether that's evening strolls, drawing, crossword puzzles, ANYTHING--- so that if you find yourself out of your comfort zone, you're able to come down, without compromising your health.
3. Get Moving. I can't tell you how often I've blogged about or told clients this somewhat obvious, but under utilized little gem. You might hear it a lot because the stats are right-- working out is one of the most effective stress relievers, a great way to pump your endorphins, and press the reset button. When I travel or find myself in a state of stress, I run. I bring my running shoes because I know the consistency of working out is so healing for me. No matter where you're working out, if you're able to become centered, it will trigger that same state/ mindset, no matter where you are (literally and figuratively).
4. Implement Routine. To some, this could seem very boring. I'm not saying shut down your spontaneous side, but routine can be a great way to bring familiarity to an unfamiliar place or time in your life. While I love supporting local, independent shops, one of my best travel tips is: the second you touch down at the airport, map a Whole Foods. You can find one in most major cities, either near the airport or your hotel. Since most layouts are fairly similar, choosing a grocery like Whole Foods will actually end up saving you time— not to mention the obvious perks of having healthy snacks handy when you’re on the go. I know when most people think of Whole Foods, they don’t exactly think “budgeting”, but this little routine will also end up saving you money! Grabbing some quick $3 breakfasts (like superfood oatmeal cups by Vilgilant Eats and Purely Elizabeth), $1 bottles of spring water, transportable fruits like apples, pears, plums— not only allows you to stay on a healthy path, it also reduces the temptation of grabbing a $4 acidic SmartWater from your mini fridge or a processed snack from a vending machine or convenient store. I also highly suggest grabbing a green drink, low in sugar (4ish grams a serving), to alkalize your system and help combat travel stress.
During my move, I have loved discovering new places, but when I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed, you have no idea how comforting it is to walk into somewhere like a Sprouts-- anywhere I can go to avoid unnecessary stimuli.
In order to master these tips, you must first challenge yourself to devote time to be still. Time to check-in and pay attention to what does and doesn't work for you: activities, foods, etc. By doing this, I was able to find the very things that bring me to a state of homeostasis. (And, also, things that lead me to the brink of spiraling.) This custom “wellness formula” is invaluable when you're entering a time of stress, change, upheaval. Take inventory of the things that help you self-regulate and feel whole and authentic... and do what it takes to make sure that you’re living on that level. It’s the most self-honoring thing you can do!
Do you have any self-regulating routines?! Please share in the comments section below!