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!

How to Pull Yourself Out of a Bad Mood

We’ve all been there. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Things aren’t going well for you. Or maybe they are and then someone does something or says something negative that sends you in a tailspin.

Whatever the reason, bad moods happen. And when they do, it can be hard to snap out of it. So how can we move ourselves in a more positive direction? These are five tools I’ve used to  help pull myself out of a bad mood. Give one or two a try, see what works for you.

how-to-pull-yourself-out-of-a-bad-mood

Work Out

When I have trouble shaking off negativity, one of the most effective ways I have found to remedy that is to work out. It doesn’t matter what you do; run, walk, go to the gym, yoga. Just get your body moving and sweat it out. One of my favorites is this Yoga with Adriene video Yoga For When You’re In A Bad Mood. It’s easy, it’s free, and it definitely helps boost your mood!

Talk It Out

Talk to a friend, talk to yourself, or write it all down in a journal. When we allow things to stay locked inside, it festers and grows and only makes things worse. Sometimes expressing the frustration and grumpiness is all we need. I’ve been known to have full on conversations with myself in my car as I’m driving home from work.

Laugh

I love to laugh! And one of the quickest ways to break down barriers is to laugh. It’s hard to stay mad or uptight when you have a smile on your face. Humor can lighten the mood, help us to lighten up about ourselves, and reminds us to not take everything so seriously. A good stand up comedy show or a favorite funny movie is always a great go-to trick for bad moods!

Meditate

Often times when we are mad or angry or in a bad mood, the last thing we want is to be still or to be quiet. The thoughts are raging around in our head, our emotions are all over the place, and we have tons of energy just rushing around. It can feel pretty out of control. But if we just slow down, pause, remember to breathe, we can find a peace and calm that will help ease us out of that negative space. It doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Just sit quietly for five minutes and listen to the sound of your breath.

Do Something New

Break out of your routine and try something new; go somewhere different, learn a new craft, experience something out of the ordinary. Doing something that will break out of your current surroundings and get your mind off the current situation is a great way to bust out of a bad mood. Instead of dwelling on what’s wrong, we can let it go for a bit and turn our attention to something else.

These are just five ways I’ve learned to snap myself out of a bad mood. For other self-care and wellness ideas and resources, check out the Resources page. Let me know what works best for you. What are your go-to tricks for beating a bad mood? 

 

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

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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.

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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

10 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

10 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays are here!

Everyone has a different reaction; some are thrilled, some go into hiding and some of us break out into a full blown panic attack. Wherever you fall on the holiday spectrum, there are ways to manage holiday stress and come through unscathed and maybe, dare I say, even enjoy the season.

Take some time for self-care, consider the season ahead, and find a few things you can implement from the list below to help you manage any stress you experience during the holidays.

Find a way to make it your own.

10-ways-to-manage-holiday-stress

1. Plan ahead.

Grab a calendar or use your phone – anything to help you keep track of where you need to be and what you need to do. Parties to attend, gifts to buy, cookies to bake for that work party; there are a lot things to keep track of. Write it down and plan it out to avoid rushing and last minute stress.

2. Carve out some time for yourself.

Enjoy some alone time, read a book, or meet up with a friend for coffee. Schedule time to allow yourself to re-energize, relax, and enjoy a mindful moment or two. It’s okay to make this a priority! Write it in your calendar so you won’t run out of time before you get around to taking care of yourself.

3. Give yourself permission to say no.

You don’t have to say yes to every invitation. Planning ahead will help with this one! Know when you’re available and how much time you have. You’ll avoid double booking yourself and avoid unnecessarily stressful situations. Allow yourself the freedom to graciously decline invitations to things that don’t contribute to your enjoyment of the season.

4. Make time to exercise.

It’s easy to bail on your workout routine when you have so much to do and so many extra holiday activities. But if you want to truly relieve stress and keep your mind right, find some time to work out. It can be a family walk in the morning, going for a quick run, doing yoga at home or hitting the gym with a friend. Exercise is vital to mental and physical health. It can be a life saver during the holidays and can also be a good excuse to take a break from the crowds.

5. Don’t abandon your healthy diet – at least not completely.

Along the same lines as working out, eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you avoid extra stress. Excess alcohol and sugar can fuel stress and drive your holiday season into the ground. I’m not advocating avoiding these things all together, but consider being mindful about how much you consume. Keep healthy options in the kitchen and don’t forget to hydrate! Keep a water bottle in the car, so you’ll have it on the go, too.

6. Adjust your expectations.

Let’s be real, you can’t always avoid grumpy Aunt Margaret, but you can set yourself up for a more positive experience by not setting your expectations too high. Know what you’re getting into, don’t take things personally, and choose to have a good attitude. You can avoid a lot of disappointment by allowing people to be who they are and remember that everyone else is dealing with holiday stress just like you. Tis the season to cut them some slack.

7. Identify your stressors and make a game plan.

Speaking of your grumpy Aunt Margaret, take some time to identify those things (or people) who really stress you out; the party you feel anxious about, the gift you’re stressing over, etc. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and make a game plan – how can you find a sense of ease in the situation? Maybe plan to attend the party for a set amount of time or talk to someone who can help in the situation.

8. Connect to a childlike wonder.

Step back and look around; the lights, the décor, the excitement. Allow yourself a moment to detach from the cynicism and stress. Watch the children’s eyes light up as they stare up at the huge Christmas tree. Let yourself go and enjoy the people around you.

9. Practice mindfulness.

Staying in the moment helps avoid a sense of overwhelm. Find a way to connect to the present moment – meditation, breathing, etc. Being mindful allows us to slow down and truly be present, experiencing the season instead of rushing through it.

10. Remember that this won’t last forever.

Maybe you’re one who really struggles with the holiday season. Maybe it’s something that brings a sense of sadness or loneliness. Know that you’re not alone and the vast majority of us wrestle with these feelings every year. Find solace in knowing that it is a season, and it will not last forever.

Don’t let the stress of the holidays steal your joy! Take whatever works for you from this list and work it out.

Do you have a go-to tip for managing holiday stress? Share it in the comments! Let’s help each other have a stress-free season and have fun!

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

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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.