7 Ways To Be Healthier Every Day 

I’ve never been very good at taking care of my body. It probably stems from a lifetime of low self-esteem and poor body image. But in my quest to find true happiness, I realized that it’s so much more than a feeling (cue Boston). Happiness is a balance of all parts – mind and body.

Talking about taking care of our physical bodies isn’t always an easy or popular topic, but it’s necessary if we ever want to experience true happiness and genuine contentment. When our mental health and our physical health are both in alignment, we can live more abundant, full lives.

7 Ways To Be healthier ever day
I am certainly not a doctor and this is most definitely not a medical journal, but these are things that I have tried to incorporate into my daily life that have improved my physical health and changed the way I view my body. Everyone is different, so take what works for you and toss the rest. Explore ways to help you feel better!

Move Your Body!

We all know that exercise is necessary for physical health. The key is finding something you enjoy, something to get your heart rate up and make you sweat a little. Walking, running, cycling are all good options. Yoga has been a total game changer for me. Whatever it is, get out there and do it. Move that body!

Get Enough Sleep

It’s important to let your body rest. Allow yourself adequate time to get quality sleep so that your body can slow down and recover. If you find it hard to get to sleep at night, try creating an evening routine so your mind will begin to shift into sleep mode; stretch or do yoga, turn the electronics off, read a book, etc. Try doing these things and getting to bed at the same time each night.

Get Outside

Fresh air can do wonders for your mind and your body. Getting fresh oxygen into your lungs can be a real game changer. It also doesn’t hurt to soak up some extra vitamin D. Try to get outside a little bit each day, even if it’s for a quick stroll around the block. You’d be amazed at how much energy it generates.

Stay Hydrated

I used to hate water. I had to force myself to down a glass or fill it with flavored powders. But the more I tend to my physical body and explore ways of getting healthier, the more I find myself craving water. Most people don’t understand how great our bodies are designed to feel and function. Water is a huge part of that. Try to carry a water bottle with you at all times to remind yourself to stay hydrated. Water is also another great energy booster!

Listen To Your Body

There are a million health articles on the internet telling you what to eat and what exercise regimen to follow. I can’t tell you how many workout programs and diets I’ve tried in my life. Some were effective, some weren’t, and the one thing I learned from them all is how different everyone is. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. The key is to listen to your body. If something isn’t working for you, keep trying other things until you find something that does work for your body and makes you feel good. One size does not fit all in the health department.

Look In The Mirror

Stand in front of the mirror and listen to what your thoughts sound like. Are they negative? Critical? Is it hard to stand in front of the mirror at all? Taking care of our bodies has to come from a place of self-love or it will never last. We need to shift our mindset to one of appreciation for our bodies and not punishment for what it does or doesn’t look like. There has been a disconnect for me personally between my mind and my body when it comes to physical health. Balancing those out has completely shifted the way I view myself and my health. If you want it to last, the connection has to be made. It’s a hard one, for sure. But it makes all the difference.

Think Before You Eat (or Drink)

Paleo. Vegan. Vegetarian. South Beach Diet. Mediterranean Diet. I could go on and on and on. I have read so much about so many different ways to eat and not eat, that it makes my head spin. I again came to the conclusion that everyone is different and that what works for you might not work for me – and more importantly, that it’s okay! The one thing I started doing to help me find what works for me, is to think before I eat (or drink) anything. I ask myself this one simple question; is this going to nourish my body and help me feel good? That’s not to say I pass on birthday cake or never have brownies and ice cream (hey, balance in all things, right?) but as a general rule, I try to at least ask myself that question first.

Physical health and happiness is a continuous journey for me. These are a few things I’ve picked up along the way and I’m sure there will be many more as I continue on. But everything comes back to a place of self-love; are you taking care of yourself because you love yourself? How can you begin the process of shifting your perspective? What’s one thing you can do today to take care of your body with a self-love approach? Be kind to yourself, my friends.

31 Self-Care Activities

Taking time for self-care is vital to our well being; making it a habit – a regular practice – can be a total game changer. There are certain self-care activities that I try to work into my every day routine, like drinking warm lemon water in the morning and fitting in a yoga session each day. But on the weekend or the occasional free time, I like to incorporate something extra.

Below is my go-to list of self-care activities. I keep it handy so that in those moments of free time, I can reference it and find something that works. Whether you have five minutes or an entire weekend, you’re sure to find something on this list.

31-self-care-activities

  1. Gentle Yoga – this Intro to Yin Yoga video is amazing!
  2. Read a new book.
  3. Watch your favorite TV shows.
  4. Go to the local coffee shop.
  5. Bake something – try a new recipe or an old favorite!
  6. Meditate.
  7. Turn your phone off for 1 hour.
  8. Take a long, hot shower.
  9. Paint your nails or go get a pedicure!
  10. Deep condition your hair.
  11. Dance around the house to your favorite upbeat music.
  12. Go for a leisurely walk.
  13. Watch a funny movie or stand up comedy show.
  14. Make a smoothie (green power smoothies are my fave!)
  15. Go to the lake or beach.
  16. Watch the sunset.
  17. Write in your journal.
  18. Read something inspiring.
  19. Take a nap.
  20. Go for a drive.
  21. Eat at your favorite restaurant or get your favorite take-out.
  22. Stay in your pajamas all day.
  23. Have some warm tea (Chamomile is very calming!)
  24. Write a gratitude list.
  25. Make breakfast for dinner!
  26. Play cards.
  27. Write down 5 things you like about yourself.
  28. Eat chocolate.
  29. Listen to a funny or inspiring pod cast.
  30. Buy an adult coloring book & colored pencils.
  31. Write an empowering quote on a sticky note & put it on your mirror.

 

These are my 31 go-to self-care activities. Do you have any that aren’t on this list? Share in the comments below!

Looking for even more self-care resources? Check out my resource page here.

15 Self-Care Ways to Transition Into the New Year

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, and turning things around. Personally, it can be a bit overwhelming. I tend to either over do it – with unrealistic goals and fifteen different spreadsheets with 150 steps to accomplish each goal – or I throw my hands in the air and completely give up.

So I got to thinking… there has to be a better way. How can I bring a self-care approach to the new year? How can I truly set myself up for a healthy and happy new year that addresses not just my physical body but also my mind and spirit?

Below are 15 ideas I think will help us transition into the new year mindfully. Check them out and find what works for you. As always, take what you like and toss what you don’t. We’re all different. We’re all tending to different needs. We all deserve to develop a self-care plan that works for us.

Reflect.

Take some time to journal. Write about all the things that went really well in the past year and all the things you’d like to improve in the upcoming year. Writing can be very therapeutic and this journal is for you, so be as honest and as silly as you’d like.

Celebrate!

Take all the positive things you wrote down – the things that went really well in the past year – and celebrate them! Treat yourself to a night out (or a night in!). Do something nice for yourself to celebrate the good.

Let It Go.

All the negativity you’ve built up in the last year, anything you wrote down that didn’t work out so well, the things that tripped you up in the last year – let them go. Tear those pages out of the journal and trash them. Clear the screen. We’re starting fresh.

Declutter.

In the spirit of starting fresh, declutter your house. Go through your closet, dresser, office, cabinets. Are there things you haven’t used all year? Box them up and donate them or have a year-end garage sale with friends and neighbors. If you need a little more inspiration, check out my blog post about how Decluttering Your Life.

Clean the Kitchen.

I know it’s hard to get rid of excess sugar and unhealthy food during the holidays, but now is the time to do it. Out of site, out of mind. Set yourself up for success by clearing out all the junk food and stocking up on all the goodness; fruits, veggies, etc.

Create Mindful Goals.

Choose the top three most important things you’d like to accomplish this year and make a plan to focus on them – goals, new years resolutions, intentions, whatever you want to call them. By choosing just a few, it allows you to focus on the things that are really valuable to you (and also avoid becoming overwhelmed by too many goals!)

Use the Buddy System.

Find someone to join you in your goals. Are you joining the gym this year? Find a workout buddy. Want to read more books? Find a reading partner and schedule monthly trips to the library. Everything is more fun with friends AND you are way  more likely to stick with it if you don’t go it alone.

Come Up With A Plan.

Write down some how-to’s for each goal. Find a good planner, journal or notebook to track your progress. Schedule times to check-in and evaluate how you’re doing on your goals throughout the year. Adjust as necessary.

Keep An Open Mind.

Life happens! Have your goals, clarify your priorities, work hard… but be flexible and keep an open mind. Things might not always go the way you envision them – work around it, work with it. Allow life to flow as you work towards your goals.

Make Yourself A Priority.

Consider ways to integrate Self-Care into your daily routines. Taking care of yourself allows you to be your best self, to nurture others around you better, and to be more fulfilled in life. You can read about the value of Self-Care here and find some resources here.

Decide What Is NOT Important.

Just like choosing your top three priorities so you know what’s important, you need to know what you’re NOT going to focus on, too.  This will help you say no to things that will distract you, hinder your progress, or muddy the waters. Clarity is important.

Love Yo’ Self.

Know that you are good just as you are. With so much emphasis on getting in shape and having the perfect body, it’s vital to create a sense of self acceptance. I have always struggled with this. For a little inspiration, you can read my story here.

Make It Fun!

No matter what your goals are, find ways to make it fun. Remember to celebrate small accomplishments along the way, be silly, and laugh (maybe even at yourself). Life is too short to not enjoy the journey.

Take A Time Out.

The holidays are fun and exciting but also busy and hectic. This can create a lot of stress that you don’t want to carry into the new year. Carve out some time when you can be quite, calm, and still. Find something relaxing and allow yourself to unwind.

Adopt A Positive Mindset.

No matter what gets thrown at you in the next year, train yourself to see the good. Squint if you have to. But find it, see it and celebrate it. Everything is better when you can see the good.

So there you have it – my self-care plan to transition into a happy, healthy new year. Hopefully this will inspire you to create your own plan; take some of these ideas and make them your own! Create a life that feels good, that is nurturing, and gratifying.

Let me know how things work for you and what you’re doing to move into the new year!

5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, like everything is complicated or difficult, it might be time to declutter your life. Clearing out space in your home and your mind can help simplify and organize your daily living experience. It doesn’t mean throwing out everything you own and sitting quietly in an empty home (although that might be a nice break). It also doesn’t need to be a huge, stressful overhaul.

Here are five quick ways you can declutter your life and move toward more mindful living:

 

5-ways-to-declutter-your-life

[This post contains an affiliate link, which means if you click and purchase an item, there’s no additional cost to you, but I’ll get a small kickback that helps me keep this blog alive and the lights on. Thanks!]

 

1. Declutter your home.

If this immediately freaks you out, relax. Make a list of things to clean out, then tackle one thing at a time; bedroom closets, kitchen cupboards, junk drawers, storage bins. You don’t have to do this all in one day. Take your time and be mindful. Donate excess items or have a big garage sale with friends.

For some extra help on cleaning out your closet, check out A Guide to Decluttering Your Closet by The Blissful Mind. She has excellent suggestions, makes it really easy, and walks you through the whole process.

2. Declutter your car and purse.

Basically, declutter anything you have with you on the go; your car, purse, gym bag, school backpack, work bag, etc. That way you’ll always have the essentials and you’ll avoid the stress of leaving home without something you need (or with way more than you need).

I like to clean everything out of my car and only keep an emergency bag with an extra pair of boots, socks, a hat, travel first aid kit, water and paper towels. I also keep my reusable grocery bags tucked in the back so I won’t forget them when I rush off to the store. Do the same for any other type of bag you use on a regular basis.

3. Declutter your diet.

Clean eating and staying hydrated is so important for mindful living. It helps keep your body fueled, your mind clear and your energy levels high. Clean out the pantry of any overly processed foods that don’t add nutritional value to your meals. Do the same with the refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. Keep water on hand at all times so you remember to hydrate.

4. Declutter your mind.

There is so much information being thrown at us on a daily basis that our minds are constantly processing. This can be stressful, cause anxiety and depression, and wreck havoc on our well being. It’s important to disengage from technology at times, take a break from social media, and limit TV.

A great way to declutter you mind on a daily basis is to start a journaling practice and use a bullet journal, like this one. Creating lists and writing everything down takes pressure off of yourself to remember everything. It’s a creative way to relieve stress, manage goals, and be mindful.

5. Create a simple morning and evening routine.

Your morning can set a definite tone for the day. Imagine what your ideal morning would look like. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do if you had no time restraints. Then choose two or three of those things and work them into your morning. It might mean you get up a little earlier each day, but making time for things like working out, drinking warm tea, meditation and journaling, will totally change your day (and your life!)

Your nighttime routine is important as well because we all know that getting a good night’s sleep can make or break your morning. Find ways to relax in the evening and unwind. This 20 minute yoga Bedtime video is a great way to release the day’s stress and ease into your evening.

*

These are just a few ways to declutter your life and live mindfully. It won’t happen over night and you have to be intentional, but take it one day at a time and you’ll begin to shift into a more balanced and content lifestyle.

For more tips on mindful living, check out 5 Ways to Be More Present

15 Self-Care Tips for the Winter Blues

15 Self-Care Tips for the Winter Blues

If you’re anything like me, the grey skies and stormy weather are only enjoyable for so long. I crave the warm sunshine of summer and when the winter hits, it can be hard to keep myself positive and healthy. For many people, winter can be a tough time dealing with feeling down, depressed or anxious. It is important during these times that we don’t forget to take good care of ourselves.

This is a great list to keep on hand and add to as you go through down times during the winter season. Take what works for you and scratch off the things that don’t. Everyone is different – find what works best for you!

15-self-care-tips-for-the-winter-blues

[Heads up: This post contains some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps keep the lights on. Thanks!]

 

1. Take a vitamin D supplement. You can pick it up at any local drug or grocery store. Take it consistently to help raise your vitamin D levels.

2. Try “Yoga for the Winter Blues”. There are also tons of other great videos for anxiety and stress on the Yoga With Adriene YouTube channel!

3. Meditate. Sometimes just being still and connecting to your breath can help release the heaviness and negativity that creeps in during this time of year.

4. Talk to someone. You’re not alone! There are tons of people who find this time of year to be difficult. Reach out and find a support system.

5. Drink warm tea. Wrap yourself in a big blanket and curl up with a warm cup of tea. It’s relaxing and comforting! I love to unwind in the evening with a caffeine free tea; my favorite is Yogi Chai Rooibos.

6. Get outside when you can. Weather often makes this difficult during the winter, but find a moment to step outside between stormy weather or watch the rainfall from your porch. Fresh air is game changer.

7. Read a good book. Reading is a great way to occupy your mind and keep it from dwelling on the negative. I’m currently obsessed with Michael Connelly’s ongoing Harry Bosch series! I’m on book 14 in the series; 9 Dragons.

8. Listen to positive, upbeat music. Music has an incredible way of changing your mood. Turn it up and dance it out!

9. Know yourself. Pay attention to the times you tend to feel the most down and make it a habit to do something positive during that time.

10. Exercise. It’s hard to get moving when you feel down or it’s too stormy to go outside. Find a workout video on YouTube or do jumping jacks while watching your favorite TV show. Do something to get your body moving.

11. Eat healthy. This requires planning ahead. When you’re depressed or down, you often don’t have the energy to cook a big meal. Plan ahead and have healthy food on hand.

12. Go with the flow. Know that each day will be different and that’s okay.

13. Be kind to yourself. Try not to get upset with yourself but instead, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and tend to it in a nurturing and caring manner. Be easy on yourself.

14. Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps your body to stay healthy and keeps your energy levels up. Try to keep a water bottle on hand at all times.

15. See a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel like you need it. You are not alone and there is no shame in reaching out. Sometimes taking good care of yourself means letting someone else help.

Just Show Up

Just Show Up

I have never loved my body. Even my 16 year old, five-foot-six, 105 pound self didn’t love her body. Until recently, I didn’t think I should love my body. It isn’t perfect and it certainly doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen in the magazines. I have a ways to go, I tell myself. Then I will be happy. Then I will love my body.

I’m getting married in a year and almost every wedding planning guide I could find includes some kind of “start your bride body workout” notation on the time line. What exactly is a bride body? I’d imagine it looks like the ever illusive bikini body. So, not only am I planning the happiest day of my life with all of my best friends and family, I now also have the added pressure of looking like Cindy Crawford while doing it. No sweat. (Or in my case, apparently, a lot of sweat.)

My point is, there is pressure everywhere to have a perfect body.

Not too long ago I was throwing a pretty huge pity party; full of self loathing body shaming pity. I have been at my current weight for a while, despite numerous and varied attempts at losing weight. I was feeling better and noticing definition in muscles I didn’t even know I had, but those trouble spots were still there and that damn number on the scale wasn’t changing.

Then I had a thought: what if this is it? What if this is just what my body is going to look like for the rest of my life? What if I show up to my wedding in a year from now and look exactly like I do right now?

I let my mind run with that for a while…

I think I would eat healthy and work out for the sake of my health instead of a means to losing weight. I might even start to enjoy those things and maybe break the cycle of emotional eating.

I wouldn’t be disappointed when I got on the scale and nothing had changed. I would probably stop getting on the scale at all.

I would find a bathing suit that was comfortable and worked well with my figure, instead of avoiding bathing suits all together because I don’t look good in a bikini yet. And I would wear it every chance I got.

If I knew the way my body looks would never change, I would work to make peace with who I am and learn to appreciate and love myself as I am.

I realized I had bought into the lie; the perfectionist lie that we should all be striving for the magazine cover look alike body – and the even bigger lie that my value is defined by that body, by my body.

There is certainly no shame or blame in wanting to be physically healthy and happy and to be able to run a mile without having a heart attack. But those things need not be attached to what your body actually looks like.

This summer I did the Couch to 5K program just to get myself, well, off the couch – to get moving and do something to keep my heart healthy. I’ll admit, I was disappointed when I got on the scale and didn’t see a change. But it felt good to push myself to do something that intimidated me. I was surprised at my body’s ability. I was proud of myself.

I am slowly learning that it is far more important and far more valuable for me to do things out of a love for myself and less out of a dislike for the way I look. My relationship with my body, with food, and with the scale has always been a treacherous one. But it is really just a symptom of something deeper – my relationship with myself.

I want to approach body image from a self-care perspective; to focus less on what I look like and more on how I feel. I want to redeem my relationship with food and exercise. Is there a way to get in shape without the judgement and negativity? I believe there is and I think it starts with seeing myself just as I am and seeing the worth and value that is already there.

One thing I have done to start that shift in perspective is to put the scale away. The only thing weighing myself does for me is start a war of hateful self talk that makes me feel bad about my body. It’s not an issue for everyone but it is for me and I know that removing the negative things in my life is the only way to start seeing more of the positive things, and to start appreciating all the good that is there.

Another thing I have started doing recently is practicing yoga in the morning. Let me just say that I am not a morning person. At all. Never have been. But I know that if I can get my mind right first thing in the morning and connect to my body in a positive way, it will have a ripple effect through the rest of my day. I will make better food choices and stay aware of the motivation behind my cravings. Just show up, I tell myself. I roll out of bed and onto the mat. And the rest just kind of happens.

There are so many other things I can do, and plan to do, to better myself and get beyond my body shaming self. But I know it’s a journey and I’m in it for the long haul. So I take one thing at a time and try to be kind to myself, acknowledging the progress.

What are some positive things you can start doing today to feel better about yourself and connect to a more positive body image? It’s so vital that you know how beautiful you are and how worthy you are of being cared for, most importantly by yourself. Just chose one small thing and start doing it. Just show up. See what happens.