4 Easy Ways to Create Instant Self-Love by Sarah Steckler

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Time for me? Yeah okay, let me just pencil that in….somewhere… When life gets chaotic, the first thing to go can often be time for self-reflection and care. But there are little things you can do each day to make your day feel eleventy times better and give yourself that extra boost you need.

I often find myself so busy that I forget to eat, forget to make that important phone call, or just forget what I was supposed to remember in general.

Self-Love and care often have the theme of extravagance tied to them. Elaborate bubble baths, day-long mani pedis, hour-long journal sessions. All of those things are amazing but when you’re crunched for time they can feel like an elusive fantasy that’s never going to be a part of your reality.

Fear not, Ms. Busy, there are solutions for you, and they might be more enjoyable than you realize.

1) Remove the Uncertainty of Routine Tasks

Much of our daily frustrations stem from things so small that we often forget they happened hours later. I’m talking about not knowing where that important piece of mail went, losing a sticky note with vital info on it, and so on. There are a slew of things we can all do for ourselves that take moments to set up and lead to endless timesavers and stress-free mornings. Many of these may seem obvious but the reminders can be vital if they’ve been on your to-do list for a while...

  • Designate a place for your keys - they go there when you walk in and you always know where they are

  • Create an inbox/outbox - I don’t know about you, but my counter tops get cluttered with paper piles fast. Creating a place for incoming stuff to handle/sort and outgoing stuff to mail/sign/toss will make you feel more in control and less anxious that you’re forgetting something.

  • Use a notebook for notes, ideas, errands that need to get done, and anything else you’re worried about forgetting. Now everything is in one place, can easily go with you, and you won’t have to worry about loose papers or sticky notes flying around when the A/C comes on.

 

2) Make Your Bed - Improve Your Mindset

Did you know that making your bed each morning can lower your stress? Not only are you doing something for you first thing in the morning but you’re also starting your day with an accomplishment. This sets a positive mindset for the day and can help you set intention and feel good knowing that you’ve adulted and it just feels right.

 

3) Say “Thank you” when you receive a compliment

I get it, being humble is your thing but pausing to say “thank you” when someone says something nice about you allows a few things to happen:

  • You acknowledge the other person (and they appreciate it)

  • You allow yourself to feel good instead of deflecting or saying “you too!” or “please, not as much as…

  • You start accepting and believing the positive traits that others see in you

 

4) Give Yourself Permission to Change your Mind

I mean this in so many ways. How many times have you left the house in the morning thinking “I’m totally going to make xyz for dinner” or “tonight, this entire room is getting a makeover” only to come home, feel exhausted, and then get upset with yourself because you’re not sure you want to do those things anymore? Expectation hangovers are a real thing and I talk more about them in this post here. What’s important to remember is that depending on our mood, our wants, needs, and energy levels can shift. Instead of nagging yourself for not doing something that was an idea earlier, write it down in that handy notebook we talked about and get excited about it for another time. It’s totally fine and acceptable to change your mind and doing so gives your more freedom, too. You’re not bound to any one idea you have, why live in a limiting way?

The big takeaway here is that the moments of each day shape the life you live, the way you feel, and the happiness you’re capable of having. Self-Love is a practice that you can honor daily in ways that help you cultivate more control over the things you really want to be doing.

 

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Sarah Steckler is a Creative Self-Love Coach who helps women identify their goals, pinpoint what’s holding them back, and create meaningful action that allows them to feel how they deserve, get what they want, and create a better relationship with themselves in the process. When she’s not blogging or coaching, you can find her exploring the outdoors, writing snail mail to her friends, or cuddling with her English Bulldog.

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Self-Sabotage - And What the Fuck to do About it

Yesterday, as I was walking the dog, I finally understood what it feels like to self-sabotage.

I’ve heard that term thrown around a ton in books, lectures and in talking with other coaches, but I was always convinced I never did that.   Sure, I stand in my own way sometimes, but self-sabotage?  That definitely wasn’t me.

Nope.  So not.

During my walk last night I was thinking to myself, “Things are actually going pretty well right now.”  I’ve been coaching some amazing women (who are having some killer results), I’ve kept my anxiety on the lower side the past few weeks, the dog seems happier…. Shit, things are looking up!

And then, it hit me.

Literally out of nowhere feelings of dread, anxiety, fear, and an overwhelming sense of ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ hit me like a ton of bricks.  I went from feeling peaceful and happy to suddenly worrying that everything was going to be terrible, and nothing will work out, and clearly something awful is going to happen.

The fuck?

 

That is some fucked up shit, and I know I’m not alone in this feeling.   And the scary part for me is… I’m sure I’ve been doing this for years, but I didn’t realized till JUST now!

In a way, I’m not allowing myself to feel good.  I don’t believe I deserve to feel good, or I don’t deserve to have good things happen to me.  By fearing the future and convincing myself that things will go to hell, I’m not trusting in myself or the universe to handle things.

And I KNOW that I can handle things, and the universe can handle things.

This happens in all different ways for all different people.  For some, it manifests as “I’ve been eating really well and treating my body right…. But I don’t deserve to feel good so imma down a box of oreos”  or“I’m feeling really good about a situation but my mind is now going to be FULL of all the possible horrible outcomes and oh hey let’s show them on replay for the next 2 days.”

We deserve better than this. 

What to do about it:

Ok, so we know self-sabotage sucks (and is literally the opposite of self-care and self-love), so what do we do about it?

1.     The first step is just noticing.  If you’re anything like me, you may have gone years without realizing you were even doing this!  By first identifying when this is happening, we can start to take action.  Try to catch yourself in the moment, when your brain tells you “Things can’t be this good.”

2.     Once you have that moment, you can kick the self-love up a notch.  My first step is to say to myself “I deserve to feel good” or “I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life.”  These are my two favorite affirmations, and when I feel anxiety creeping in, I tend to repeat them to myself for at least few minutes.

3.     Then, I practice some deep breathing to take the edge off.  My favorite is the 4-7-8 Breath.  ((Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7, breathe out through your mouth for 8 counts))  I do this 4-6 times to help re-set my parasympathetic nervous system.

4.     If I’m at home and able to, I love to practice some tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) around whatever the issue is.  To use EFT, you use the tips of your fingers to lightly tap on different meridian points on your head, shoulders and chest, while affirming, “Even thought I have this problem (Fill in the blank with your issue), I love and accept myself.”

Want to give it a try?  Watch this quick video by Jessica Ortner for a primer on the points.

 

5.     And then, finally, I journal that shit out.  Sometimes I really resist journaling, but that’s usually when I need it the most.  Getting it out of my head and onto paper helps me process things a little more, so it’s not just swirling around in an anxious jumble in my head.

 

All right you fabulous babes – talk to me.  Do you experience self-sabotage?  Yes? No?  Have you never thought about it before?  What do you do when it creeps in? Leave me a comment below!

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"The Struggle is Real. Women & Autoimmune Disease." by Deana Gunn

Autoimmunity. Are you familiar with it? Chances are you probably have heard about it or know someone with an autoimmune disease.  So what is autoimmunity? In its simplest form, your body is attacking itself. What? Yup, that's right. For example, if you have Celiac Disease like me your body is attacking your small intestines and with Rheumatoid Arthritis your body is attacking it's joints. In Hashimoto's, your body is attacking your thyroid.  

Why can it be challenging to figure out if you are suffering from one? As someone who has an autoimmune disease, that typically can take about nine years to pinpoint, I'd love to share some of my thoughts and experience on why so many women are not only suffering, but aren't being diagnosed. 

 

1.) Doctors. Taking time to really listen and understand all the symptoms going on with someone takes time! Unfortunately our current medical system is not set up to accommodate time with patients. Practitioners generally are paid by insurance companies based on the number of patients they see.  Functional doctors take the time to listen, look at the symptoms, and attempt to get to the root of the issue and restore balance in the body.  The patient is treated as a whole, instead of treating symptoms. It's why often functional practitioners can't take insurance. It's just not cost effective. I can't tell you how many doctors and specialists I saw that couldn't find anything wrong with me but I knew something wasn't right. My diagnosis came when I worked with a functional doctor.

 

2.) Our SAD diet! I'd be remiss without mentioning what we put in our body. The Standard American Diet (SAD- how ironic) has contributed to the increase in autoimmunity. Sure, you may have a genetic predisposition to it but what you eat and how you live plays a huge factor. Why? The SAD diet is carb heavy. It contains foods that are highly processed and high in sugar which create inflammation in our bodies. Chronic inflammation can often lead to disease and in many cases an autoimmune disease. Eating a diet closer to the earth, meaning food with no added ingredients. Nutrient dense foods like veggies, fruits, lean protein and nuts increase your odds to not developing one. If you aren't feeling well and not getting answers, looking at your food is a great place to start. There are other foods you can add in and take out to cool inflammation. A health coach can help with this too!

 

3.) Women aren't taken seriously. Okay, so if your doctor doesn't have enough time to listen and your symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, feeling depressed, aches and pains...you can feel helpless. These were all the symptoms I had in addition to heart palpations, tremors and balance issues. If you have kids then you are an overworked mom. If you have a career that demands much of your time, well you too are overworked. If you have both, forget it! That's about the time when many doctors open up their scripts for a prescription for Xanax. "You need to relax, you're stressed, take this...." and now you feel CRAZY. This happened to me during my time of trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It's infuriating!

 

4.) Hormones! Hormones like estrogen and progesterone and our thyroid hormones are all pieces of a complex puzzle. Many doctors just look at TSH for thyroid but there are about five other tests that can actually tell how your body is converting your hormones and how they are working together. Proper hormone testing, looking at things like inflammation markers, listening to a patient's symptoms and along with analyzing your diet can really help create a clear picture of what's going on in our bodies. From my experience, many doctors don't look at all of these things together and it's hard to put a puzzle together without all the pieces! One of the things I recommend to my clients if they are having symptoms but aren't able to get to answers, is to download a period tracker and note their symptoms around their cycle. Many times a pattern is found. This arms them with information for speaking with practitioners.

 

Please don't think I’m bashing traditional medicine because I'm not.  If I broke my leg, I'd go right to the hospital and be very thankful for all our medical advancements. I saw five doctors and specialists before I received a proper diagnosis of Celiac Disease from an Integrative Doctor who uses a functional approach. I feel lucky to have received a diagnosis within a year as the average time to diagnosis is approximately nine years! It's why I'm a fan of Functional Medicine. It approaches the patient differently by attempting to get at the root of the issue and identifies preventative measures. It looks at the whole person instead of just one symptom. If you are a woman who is struggling with pain and hasn't been able to figure out what's going on, I've walked in your shoes. You may or may not have an autoimmune disease, but if you aren't getting answers, try seeing a doctor who uses a functional approach. If that's not an option, don't give up! Look at your food and track your cycle for starters. Remember, doctors are only people too. My advice to anyone is to follow your intuition, keep asking questions, advocate for yourself and do what you can to take control of your health! 

 

"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change!"

 

 

Wishing you health & healing,

Deana

 

Deana Gunn is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who specializes in helping women with autoimmune disease take their power back and the owner of threekindsofkale.com. She's a gluten free Mom of two, a closeted lover of comic book character movies, and enjoys a nice glass of red wine. 

How To Stay Healthy With The Season

Yesterday, I all of a sudden had a HUGE craving for a big salad. 

I like salad and all, but it’s not typically a staple of mine when it’s cold out, it’s more of a warm weather food for me.  I also noticed that I was feeling a little more antsy than usual, and also SUPER inspired to keep working through most of the day yesterday. 

This feels more like spring energy, but I’m sitting here with a Winter Weather warning in Baltimore.  What gives? 

Then I remembered that the Chinese elemental calendar start seasons on different dates, and when I googled it I realized that yesterday, Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year, marks the start of the Spring season.

To. The. Day.  I called it, because I felt that shift.  Crazy, huh?

In Chinese medicine, the Spring or Wood season marks a sense of renewal and inspiration.  The worst of the winter is (hopefully) over, the days are noticeably longer, and we start to plan ahead for the warmer months. We start to make plans for our gardens, getting ready to plant seeds and eventually we break through the tough soil to allow for movement and growth.

As we get into this season, as lovely as it is, many folks tend to experience some not so fun emotions as well.  Anxiety, depression, and irritability are common as we deal with the build up of energy from winter to spring. 

And oh boy, I’m feeling that too.

With that being the case, this is a great time to refocus your self-care practice, and there are a few things you can specifically do to help ease yourself into this time.

      ·      Begin to incorporate more raw vegetables into your diet.  As it’s still chilly on the east coast         of the US, I’d say don’t rush into it and suddenly eat salad or juice for each meal, but here and         there start to add some in!

      ·      Drink 60 to 80 oz of water per day to help flush out the liver.  The liver is responsible for             detoxifying the blood, so you want to keep that shit moving!

      ·      On a similar note, start incorporating more movement into your days to also get the liver             going.  Take a walk a few times per week.  Join a yoga class.  Or friend me on Couch to 5K               (caitbyrnes) so we can keep each other motivated!

      ·    Re-organize your space!  This is a great time to get rid of all the crap that builds up during           the winter (hello KonMari method!).  Throw out old papers, dust those ceiling fans, and get             your shit in order.  You’ll feel so much better after.

 

How are you feeling right now?  Still feeling the winter blues?  Caught the spring anxiety? 

Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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Get Some Rest This Holiday Season

Did anyone else just get overwhelmed by their calendar?  Today when I opened my google calendar I realized that almost every weekend has something planned until the end of December.  And don’t get me wrong, it’s all SUPER fun stuff.  A weekend away with friends for our annual Alliterative Thanksgiving, a burlesque show, a girls night, actual thanksgiving, my family’s annual Holiday Hoo-Haa.

Shit is crazy.

Late fall and winter are really a time meant for us to be slowing down.  Our bodies are craving the rest after an active, busy summer and harvest season, and yet November/December is often when we tend to speed up.  Much party planning.  Very gifts.  So decorations.  Wow.

We rarely allow ourselves the rest that we need during this time… usually not until after New Years Shenanigans.  And by then we’re so burnt out, undernourished and frazzled that we’re feeling terrible.

Not a great way to start the new year.

So many of us set new years resolutions that include things like loosing weight, getting fit, getting healthy, and feeling better in our bodies.  And yet, we’re starting at a huge disadvantage because of they way we’ve treated ourselves the previous few months.  We quickly loose sight of those resolutions, and spend the rest of the winter feeling depleted.  This can quickly amplify feelings of seasonal depression for those of us whom it affects.

This year, I challenge you to do something for yourself during the holiday madness.  Take a break!  Use some of those vacation days and actually get some rest.  Take one extra day if you can to just lay around and sleep.  Go to bed early.  Wake up late.  Escape from the parties when you need to.  Give in to the early darkness!!  I know I’m not the only one who contemplates going to bed at 6pm after the whole daylight savings thing.

Make sure your subscribed to my newsletter this fall and winter.  I’ll have some extra goodies coming your way to keep you healthy through the hectic holidays, and you’ll get to be the 1st to know about how to have the best new year ever!

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How To Stay Well While Traveling

For those of you who don’t know me and/or follow my twitter or instagram accounts (cough, you should), my creative outlet is burlesque.  It’s been an amazing 6 years of costuming, choreography and crazy dancing, and I can’t get enough of it!

This week, I’m heading out to Seattle for my first time at Burlycon, and I’m so stupid excited.  As me and my fellow showgirls (and boys) navigate being healthy while traveling, I thought I’d share my top 5 travel tips with you.  And check back in with my instagram to see how I’m keeping myself well every day of the con.

Here’s what I’m doing:

Call the hotel ahead of time.  Is there a fridge in your room? Microwave? Some hotels don’t provide these things up front, but will if you ask (sometimes for a fee, which may be worth it depending on how long you are staying).  Are there restaurants that will deliver or are within walking distance? How about grocery stores?  Think easy ways to stock up on good eats once you arrive, especially if you are flying.

Pack whatever food you can. Think snack bars (Kind bars are my fav, try for the options with low sugar), almond butter, apples, maybe a protein powder or green powder.  Be careful with the sugar content on all “healthy” on the go foods.  Some granola bars and trail mixes are full of it…sometimes with 18-20 grams of it! 

Get some movement in.  Lucky for me I’m planning to take a ton of dance classes at Burlycon, but that’s not always the case with travel.  Try to take a break to go for a walk, or check out the hotel gym. 

Don’t overdo it on food you’re not used to.  If you don’t normally eat something, this isn’t the time to go crazy with it.  Having a stomachache on the road blows.  Have a taste and move on.

Immune boosters are your best friends.  Echinacea and Emergen-C are my go-to’s when I’m on the road, especially in the cooler months.  With all the shared spaces of airports, planes, cars, hotels etc it’s often easier to catch whatever’s going around, especially if you are already compromising your immune system with too much sugar (see tip above). 

How do you stay well while traveling? Let me know in the comments below!

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4 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Halloween is probably my second favorite holiday (4th of July is my first, duh )What’s not to love? Horror movie marathons, an excuse (that isn’t a burlesque show) to wear a totally insane costume, parties all weekend, trick-or-treating, and a reason to scare the shit out of the people you love most.

In my hometown, we actually got an extra day of Halloween fun times.  Toms River, New Jersey is home to one of the longest running Halloween parades in the country, so kids trick-or-treat on the 30th, since everyone is at the parade on the 31st.  That means we get mischief night on the 29th, trick-or-treating on the 30th, and parade madness on the 31st.

So fucking amazing.

But let’s be honest, it’s suuuuuper easy to go overboard with the candy, even if you only celebrate one day of Halloween.   The huge influx of sugar (ehem, and booze) can leave you feeling lethargic, exhausted, nauseous or even sick with a cold in the days after the parties (yup, excess sugar can weaken your immune system). 

Don’t get me wrong, I think you should enjoy yourself so here are a few tips to make the holiday a little healthier.

Go easy on the candy.  Pace yourself. Take 5 minutes in between your fun sized snicker bars to let your body register that it’s actually satisfied.

Get some fun movement in. Halloween is actually an awesome holiday for fun movement.  Have kids?  Walk with them through the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating! Don’t have kids? Borrow some from your friends!  Or, head to a spooky corn maze with your buds and make it a point to hide in the stalks and scare each other.  That will get you running, guaranteed.

Pre-Game.  Drink lots of water all day and have a healthy snack before heading out for your fun (whatever kind it may be). If you show up starving to a party you’re gonna go hard on those Kit-Kats.

Non-Food treats.  If you get trick or treaters I know it’s wildly tempting to snack on the candy between kids.  Consider giving out a non-food treat if the leftovers haunt you in your sleep.  Like this adorable lego pumpkin gift bag!

Plus, bonus, you’ll be the star house for kids with food allergies! Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project website for ways to mark your house as allergy friendly, and for more non-food ideas.

Your turn.  What are your Halloween plans this year?  Let me know how you're planning to stay healthy in the comments below!

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How to Move from Struggle to Self-Love

From the time I was a kid, I’ve attached myself to the idea of ‘struggle’ and ‘hard work.’  The idea that good things, praise, comfort, happiness etc, could only be achieved through disciplined, intense, structured work.  In my mind, when I wasn’t working (aka struggling), I wasn’t useful or worthy of praise. 

Even though I know this is not true, it’s a narrative that’s hard to stop clinging too.  Society constantly tells us that the only way to “make it” is to be over worked and exhausted.  It’s difficult to break out of the habit of struggle.

Now, I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t feel our feelings.  Sometimes, shit happens in our lives that really just sucks.  And when that happens, I find it important and necessary to allow ourselves to feel what ever comes up: overwhelm, exhaustion, anxiety etc, in order to have any healing occur.

What I’m referring to in particular is the need to feel that you have to earn love, praise, happiness, rest, or comfort.  That we have to struggle for these things in order to make them happen.  Sometimes, sure, you really do need to work your ass off to get some shit done, and I’m all about that.  But the issue is that at the end of the day, no matter how much work we get done, many of us feel dissatisfied with ourselves, because our to-do lists are ever growing.  And that’s the issue right there.  

You can work hard without struggling emotionally. 

I think many of us get stuck in the feelings of guilt when good things do come our way since maybe we didn’t ‘work hard enough for it.”  That if something’s feels effortless, than I clearly don’t deserve it. 

We gotta knock that shit out.

I am good enough

You are good enough.

And no matter how much or how little you got done today, you deserve a break at the end of the day.

I think the struggle mentality frequently creates a block for me.  I don’t let abundance flow when I’m feeling cramped up, hunched over, and stressed out.

Enter self-care.

Or really, self-love (they are the same thing)

Have you heard of Mirror Work?  It’s a term Louise Hay coined for this awesomely simple yet effective self-love exercise.  For the next week, every time you pass a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say “I love you”  Use your name too.  Not gonna lie, it will probably feel stupid and silly at first.  Or maybe it will feel emotional and difficult to do.  Notice what comes up for you, and allow yourself to really feel what happens.

And even if you don’t mean it at first, it’s sort of a “fake it till you make it” deal.

Give that a try.  You deserve to hear it.  See this week, take some time to notice where else struggle comes up in your life, and then let that shit go <3

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4 Ways to Welcome Fall

Oh hey, it’s Fall!

I’m a summer gal through and through.  I relish in it, and frequently day dream about moving to a place where there’s no such thing as spring/fall/winter.  But there’s still something quite lovely about fall. 

Part of me always felt fall is a fresh start.  This was probably drilled into my brain as a kid because of the public school calendar, but I tend to want to clean up my routine and home, stock up on supplies, and hunker down on some projects.  There’s definitely a “geterdone” energy about the start of the new season, and it’s a refreshing change from the “sit back and relax” energy of late summer.

Simultaneously, however, I’m trying to really be mindful to take extra care of myself as the temperatures start to drop.  Winter is a tough time for me, and as I’ve alluded to in past blog posts I struggle with seasonal depression.  The last few years have gotten better with regular self-care including acupuncture, rest, and making a weekend away to a warm place a priority, but it’s still something I have to be super mindful about. 

This year, I’m starting these efforts extra early to really support myself through the cooler months.  Here’s what I’m doing:

Witchy Spirity Rituals  Last week in preparation for equinox, my mama and I cleansed all of our healing crystals with sage and moonlight, and lit some candles and set our intentions for the upcoming year.  It was lovely, and such a nice reminder of getting back to myself.  Looking for some inspiration?  We loved this list of equinox rituals, and these can be done anytime!

Turning Inward I’ve been giving myself a little extra time to journal at the beginning or end of the day.  It’s been hugely helpful in allowing me to process my feelings and to make sense of the jumble of emotions and thoughts in my brain.  On paper, on my computer, whatever is convenient and in front of me works for me!

Check That Nutrition As we shift seasons, it's great to take a moment to check in with your nutrition..  If it's already cooled down where you are, it might be a good idea to start adding in more grounding, warming, cooked foods to your diet.  Raw foods have a cooling effect on the body, and if we have too many when it's cold outside it can make it hard for our immune system to keep up! 

Self-Care Time Take some time to Treat Yo Self!  Long walks in the park? Yup.  Facial? You got it.  Epsom salt Baths? Every damn night.  X files and couch cuddles? You bet.  We all need that extra care some times so that we can re-set, re-charge, and re-focus on what really matters in our lives.

 

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Guest Post! "The Whole 30 Halfway" by Amy Kocur

I'm so pleased to be able to share my dear friend Amy Kocur's account of her Whole 30 halfway-mark!  Check out her blog The New Minutiae for more great writing about wellness and style, and to read more about her Whole 30 journey.  -Cait

I am halfway done with my first Whole 30 food challenge.The way this has worked for me is I plan my food weekly  and I track my food daily. Weekly planning ranges from actually writing it down on a chart or a loose idea in my mind. I track daily using My Fitness Pal, for over a year and it's the backbone of my fitness transformation. My thoughts on The Whole 30 so far:

  • I feel healthier.
  • I'm skeptical about eating so much meat and eggs.
  • I worry a lot about relying too much on fruit and almond butter.
  • Within my support trio none of us abide the same 'version' of the plan.
  • I feel like I've lost weight and my physique has shifted (I also exercise and have not actually weighed myself - we're supposed to wait until Day 30!)
  • I have cooked more than I ever have in my entire life (honestly, the aspect I'm most proud of)!
  • The beginning was REALLY hard. 

The Whole 30 timeline is an invaluable resource. Having that as a guideline proves that nothing I'm experience is abnormal or something that needs to take me down (or cause me to go off plan). 

The first 11 days I experienced the headaches, exhaustion, and irritability. My body went through a major shift. I am a person who can resort to eating total crap junk food on the regular. Even when I was eating healthy - structured eating helped me lose 55lbs over the last year - that food routine was full of carbs, dairy and permitted sugars. Read: just enough dopamine-inducing food drugs to get by. I have not attempted eating Paleo since it was called Atkins in the late 90s (wink).  Inevitably, when I started, I was really grouchy and bitchy to my boyfriend who said I looked 'zapped' (drained) and grey or gaunt due to a rapid initial drop. Basically, I could tell my body was going through something. But I wanted to see what was on the other side.

Sugar and carbs are drugs and can have the same numbed-out impact of any wake and bake.   

I kept on - acclimating myself to this structure has had surprising positives. Don't tell anyone but I LOVE COOKING. I have cooked more in the last two weeks than I have in my whole life. I cook large batches of blueberry hash or ground beef with red onion, tomato, and balsamic.  I'm also more aware of my sleep hygiene, I see how my body fuels and restores itself. I'm more focused on goals and clear in my pursuits, personally -- The initial fog has truly fallen away to reveal a new, healthy aptitude.  

The nice part about turning the corner after the detox/ sugar hangover is that I barely remember how or why it was so difficult. I casually plan my meals for the week. I cook in bulk to be prepared for work days. I have go-tos when I don't have time to cook.  I am even focusing on how I'd like to refine my last 2 weeks to be more disciplined and get as much out of this as possible.

Once you hit the midway point The Whole 30 (or even just eating clean) is a healthy instance of, "if it feels good, do it."

I have struggled with food my whole life. Only in the last 2 years have I turned toward whole living, in many ways. I utilize support to help me through my struggles. I learn new and holistic ways to care for my body. I feel my feelings and inhabit my skin. I reach out to people who know more about topics I want to learn about. And I take action. The opposite of fear is action and all actions result in progress. So, while I'm glad this is only 30 days (or 20, or 3, or whatever you're ready to do in this moment) the amount of progress it speaks to is infinite. 

I'd love to hear your Whole 30 hooray or horror stories below! Take care. 

x/Amy

 

Getting Real About Sugar

 

Sugar, wtf.

So I’m in the middle of my first Whole 30, which I didn’t think would be terribly difficult for me.  30 days of no grains (I already don’t eat gluten), no dairy (already there), no legumes (eh, I can take them or leave them), and no added sugar – natural or otherwise (small amounts of fruit are ok).  I thought, no problem, I don’t eat THAT much sugar.  I’m generally a pretty healthy eater, right?

I was so wrong.

I AM generally a healthy eater, but what I didn’t realize is just how much hidden sugar there is in the everyday foods I was eating.  I definitely noticed some withdrawal type symptoms, similar to when trying to get off caffeine. I was feeling sort of angry, headachy, tired, and annoyed.  I think it really hit me when I was starving, walking around the grocery store trying to find a quick option for dinner and figured I’d pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Every single one had a form of sugar.  On chicken?  Really?

Everything from pickled peppers, to ketchup, to Emergen-C, to deli meat.  Everything my partner picked up and asked frantically “CAN I HAVE THIS” was a solid no, due to some form of sugar. 

It’s terrifying.  And it’s been a huge eye opener.

Food companies say they add sugar to their products to “enhance taste” but really, they do it to get you hooked.  Sugar lights up the same pleasure centers of our brain that a drug would, and once you have one hit you always want more.  Our bodies are hardwired to crave sugar in particular, because in the days of hunting and gathering, something sweet was a quick form of energy (Keep in mind, fruit was the sweetest thing you could typically find.  Not nearly as much sugar as that gluten-free donut).  It makes it extremely difficult to say no when that food comes up again.  And yet, we’re often told it’s a “lack of will power” that causes us to cave into food cravings.

No, asshole.  It’s you and all your added sugar. 

The other thing that’s been really striking to me is the way that I tend to use sugar, or food in general, in response to my emotions.  I knew I was sort of doing that, but this is the first time I’ve really had to challenge that, instead of giving in.  Generally, my idea of giving into a sweet tooth was a banana with almond butter, or some dark chocolate, but the point is that I’m reaching for those things for comfort, instead of dealing with whatever is going on. It’s been difficult, but I’m grateful for the chance to ask myself “what am I really craving here?”  I really noticed it when I had a few big projects due at the same time and was getting stressed out, and my first thought was “I just need a treat.”

No. I just need to sit down and do my work.  And maybe drink some extra water, write in my journal and take a nap.

To anyone considering a Whole 30, I can say wholeheartedly to give it a go.  Planning and prepping makes it a lot easier (so you don’t end up frantic and starving in the grocery store, like me), and it’s so SO worth it to be forced to take a good hard look at your current diet.  My body is super grateful for the break from sugar, and I’ll be sure to report more from the other side.

How about you?  Do you struggle with sugar cravings? Let me know in the comments below!

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Take a Break

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have an amazing week of vacation with my partner and his family.  We took an incredible cruise (my first one!) to the western Caribbean, and this shore gal got a ton of much needed sea time in. 

I got to check out caves in Jamaica, snorkel with sea turtles in Grand Cayman, hit the beach in Haiti, swim in pools, lay out with drinks, and nap.  I got to nap. Every. Single. Day.

It was extremely refreshing, relaxing, and calming, and I came back more alive and rested than I’ve felt in months.  Want to know why?

3 things.

First, I had a total digital detox.  The thing about being in the middle of the ocean is, your phone becomes just a camera and a clock (and maybe a paperweight).  That’s it.  Unless you want to pay for a pricy wi-fi package, it’s mostly just a brick.  90% of the time I had it tucked in my drawer, and forgot about it (the other 10% was for photo taking, which I didn't even do much of!)  It felt amazing.  Being cut off forced me to break my slight addiction to texting, social media and email.  I even brought a watch specifically so that I wouldn’t need it for the time so often.  It was liberating, and after the 1st day I didn’t even miss it.  I was even reluctant to turn it back on when we got back to the US. 

Second, was some serious quiet time.  One reason I slept like a rock was that we had an exterior room, so the only sound we really heard was the waves (and maybe once or twice, someone in the hallway).  I notice this all the time when I stay at my mom’s house in Jersey, where my bedroom is in the basement…. You don’t realize how loud the city can be outside your window until you leave, and your ears start ringing because it’s so quiet!  It was amazing, and really allowed me to have some good quality time with my journal and my thoughts.

The third and maybe most important thing was I didn’t do any work!  That’s right, this driven Capricorn didn’t take any work with her.  And I literally had to talk myself down from doing that.  Knowing that Internet would be out, in the weeks before my cruise I had thoughts of printing out material to edit by hand, and I was excited to take some time to work on a new group program and write some blog posts and do this long list of things I want to do!  At a certain point, I had to say “girl, chill” and remembered that there will always be time when I get back to do those things.  It’s super healthy to be forced to take a break in that way.  I came back feeling more creative, and ready to take on those tasks than I had been before, and I was actually able to relax and enjoy myself!

Obviously, we can’t always take a cruise when we need a break, but we can still take those 3 things and bring them into our day-to-day lives.  Maybe you can take a Sunday and lock your phone in a drawer, or even just not check email for a day.  Or find a few hours to sit in a park for some quiet time.  Take some structured time where you’ll do NOTHING even a little bit work related.  This includes house work too, none of that!

What will you do to take a break this weekend?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Exercise For People Who Hate It

Guys, I know.  For most of us, the health recommendation to “move your body” is a challenging one.  It’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything except veg out on the couch and watch 10 episodes of the X-Files on Netflix (just me?) after a long day at work.  Especially with all the other stuff you have to do…. Laundry, cook dinner, take care of kids/animals.  By the end of it, that loosely scheduled, vague ‘workout’ you had planned went totally out the window. 

I’ve dabbled in exercise most of my life.  As a kid, I played rec soccer and rode horses, but I was never super serious or competitive with either.  I just had fun doing it.  I never really sought out exercise on my own, it was just a pleasant side effect of riding my bike from morning till night with my best friend Meg, playing in the yard with my sisters, and swimming everyday from June till September in the pool.

But then suddenly, you grow up a little and it feels tough to fit movement in.  High school came and my relationship with my body was pretty skewed for a number of reasons.  Any attempts at ‘fitness’ were usually trying to impress someone else, or to make me feel better about myself and my appearance (which never really helped).  I joined the track team at the urging of an old boyfriend, and I stuck with it for the duration of the 4 years for that reason only.  I sort of hated it, because I was never really good at it, which only continued to fuel the self-loathing that was going on in my angsty teenage years.

Also I hate being bad at stuff.  #CapricornProblems

When I think back to the times I enjoyed movement in high school, it was really being on the Colorguard that made that happen.  Don’t be fooled, spinning a flag while jazz running 50 yards down a football field and simultaneously trying not to get knocked over by a tuba is hard work.  And doing that almost everyday year round, between the constant choreography practice and the skill building involved in spinning rifle and saber, I was exhausted by the end of every rehearsal.

Part of what kept me coming back there and actually loving it was that I had a built in community.  A group of people who were all there with me, everyday, doing the same exact thing.  We commiserated when shit got tough and when it felt like our arms might fall off.  We laughed together when we pulled dumb pranks on each other (word to the wise, never fall asleep on the bus... your shoelaces will surely be tied together while you're snoozing).  We celebrated successes together. 

I think this holds true to any sort of fitness regiment.  When you have a community of people around you, supporting you, and going through it with you, it makes it WAY easier to actually show up and do the work.  In this case, we depended on each other to make it all happen, but I’ve found it really helpful to just have a consistent group of people who you know will ask “Where’s Cait?” if you don’t show up.

The other thing that keeps me coming back to various workouts in my life is having a goal.  In colorguard, the goal was not looking like total fools on the football field.  What keeps me coming back to hot yoga is my goal of doing an unassisted headstand.  I recently picked up a Tumbling and Acrobatics class because secretly, I want to be an acrobat.  Having those goals in the back of my mind helps me get my grumbling, cranky self out of bed, into my workout clothes and out the door.  And really, that’s the hardest part.

Speaking of Tumbling Class, another thing that got me back to class was that I paid for it!  I’m all about affordable and free self-care, but for some folks, having the backing of cold hard cash can really get you there.  In this case, it was a short run of classes that were already paid for, so it was easy to know that if I skipped one I was wasting $30. 

The main source of my movement these days is walking the dog, which is really great because it also allows me to multitask!  I usually call my friends or family while I’m on the walk, or will listen to a lecture or a book.  It’s a win-win-win.  I get some movement, Grover dog gets some movement, and I get to catch up with my people. 

I’ll leave you with this.  As much as I whine about working out, I never feel as good as I do after I’m finished.  For real, I’m not just saying that.  There are many times during Hot Vinyasa that I curse myself, curse the hot ass room and curse the teacher for making me do these insane things while I sweat so hard I can barely keep my footing on my mat, but I feel AMAZING after.  I’m always on cloud 9 walking home, albeit pretty smelly.

Tell me friends, how do you motivate yourself to move?

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4 Ways to Bounce Back After Summer Holidays

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a hard time not going a little overboard during summer holiday weekends.  4th of July is one of my all time favorite holidays (eating, swimming, drinking, bikinis, fireworks… what else matters really?)  and this year I paired it with an amazing weekend away in western Virginia for my 10-year friendiversary with some of my best pals.  Even though I packed the healthy gluten-free snacks and tried to pace myself, when your friends are making some incredible food/drinks, it’s hard to stick to your optimal health routine.  Which is totally ok from time to time.  More than ok even, I think it’s healthy in itself to say “Fuck it” sometimes.

The view from Friendiversary!

The view from Friendiversary!

But you know, eventually the weekend ends, and the real world comes crashing down on you in the form of hangovers, nausea, headaches, fatigue and general fogginess.  And it's not just 4th of July.  Sometimes in the summer it feels like there's an event every weekend that includes food and booze!

So in the spirit of getting “back on track,” here’s what I’m doing now to recover:

Drink a crapload of water.  Particularly, water infused with lemon and cucumbers, which aids in hydration and adds extra vitamins and minerals without even trying.  Also it tastes awesome and is great if you don’t particularly like the taste of plain water.

Detox Tea. Give your liver some love after all it’s done for you this past weekend (or you know, your whole life).  I love to keep some detox tea on hand after weekend full of bbq’s and parties, Yogi makes a great blend.

Extra Rest.  It’s the ever persisting feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation, but there’s something to it.  When you break out of your normal routine it’s awesome for your brain, spirit, and body, but can also be extra exhausting.  Cut yourself some slack and make sure you get enough rest during your recovery days.  Need help? Check out my post about getting yo beauty sleep!

Clean up your diet.  During the summer, I let myself indulge a little during the weekends, and try to eat really nutrient dense meals during the week.  It’s my way of keeping some balance.  What should you eat?  Everyone is different, but generally I try to get a good serving of high quality protein (local/free range meat, eggs, nuts, beans, legumes, etc) and a ton of fresh veggies.  It’s summer, so take advantage of all the awesome stuff that’s in season now!  My favorite summer plates are usually 1/3 protein and 2/3 veggies.  Recently, Desmond and I made rosemary chicken, with a heaping portion of roasted zucchini from the farmers market and sautéed garlic kale.  So. Good.

What do you do in the days after a long holiday weekend?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Hello, World!

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4 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, is fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere.  This day, June 21st, marks the longest day of the year before the days begin to shorten again as we head towards winter. 

For me, it’s a little bit of a drag.  I LOVE summer.  I really probably belong somewhere where it’s warm all the time, because winter generally really bums me out.  So for me, when Memorial day comes, a part of me is all “YAY SUMMER POOLS OCEAN HEAT TINY DRESSES YES” and the other part of me is lamenting the fact that since it’s now unofficially summer, it means that it won’t always be summer, and that summer will, in fact, end.

Not a great way to live, huh?  The way I’ve been doing it, I probably am not enjoying summer to the fullest because I’m too worried about it ending!

So this time, I’m trying really hard to take each day as it is, remember to have gratitude for the current moment whether it’s June 1st or Sept 1st, and to just celebrate as much as I can. 

I’m super excited to be heading back home to the shore to spend the solstice with my mom and a few friends, so I wanted to share a few ways to really celebrate the longest day of the year.  Solstice is a time of reconnecting with the earth, and yourself.  This means checking in with your body, mind, spirit and surroundings.

Here are 4 ways to celebrate the sun this day:

Fire Be it a backyard bonfire, your charcoal grill or a candle in your apartment, fire is a great way to center yourself and connect to the universe (whatever that means to you.) Light up a fire and say a quick affirmation (this is one of my favs from Louise Hay)

 

Potluck  Food.  That’s it.

No but really, a potluck with friends/family is an awesome way to really connect with your loved ones, and to re-establish a sense of community.  Make it a picnic in the park, or a BBQ out in the back yard, this is a super easy way to have an awesome gathering.  The plus side? No one person is responsible for all the cooking!

Make Something Maybe it’s a special recipe for that potluck we just talked about.  Or something you’ve been meaning to do in the garden.  Or a craft from your ever growing Pinterest board of things you could just buy but you KNOW you could do it yourself!

 

Even if it looks like this, doing something with your hands is therapeutic, relaxing, and grounding.  Bonus points if your handiwork involves natural materials. 

Check In With Yourself  Take a moment to check in with your body.  Is there something going on that needs to be tended to? Aches and pains that have gone unchecked?  Mental health? Now’s a good time to recommit to your wellness goals (New Years Resolutions anyone?) and make those Dr’s appointments, schedule some exercise, hey, maybe even hire a health coach! 

What are your plans for the longest day of the year?  Share in the comments below!

 

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Knowing When To Say "F*** It"

I’ll be honest, I had the hardest time figuring out what I wanted to write this week.

Should I write about the new baby plants that just went into my garden?

Maybe safe sunscreen options?

Summer exercise routines?

New recipes?

But really, what I’ve been thinking about is how I’m feeling a little like a failure when it comes to food.

As a health coach, I frequently give clients advice about foods to add into their diet and foods to limit.

Lately though, I’m feeling like a “Do as I say, and not as I do” coach.

After 6ish months with limited caffeine, coffee is making the rounds in my diet again.

Wine?

You betcha.

Froyo? Chocolate chips? Check and check.

To be fair, these foods were always in my diet, but lately they’ve been showing up more frequently than normal.

My hyper vigilant meal planning has fallen to the wayside the past few weeks, and dinner’s been on a whim depending on what we have in the fridge and how much we want takeout.

So what’s changed?

A few things.

For one, its summer!

And the summer Jersey girl in my wants to throw all my cares to the wind and spend my days on the beach and my nights on the boardwalk, soaking up the sun and the breeze and the salty air.

But possibly more importantly, is the fact that I was feeing the need to be “bad” in a way.

I was feeling like I needed to say “Fuck it” to everything I’m supposed to do, be, feel etc.

I needed to be rebellious, and do the opposite of what people, society, the world was telling me I “should” do.

So, lattes were had, drinks consumed and snacks eaten.

Responsibilities tossed to the side (have you noticed a lapse in blog posts?), and the laundry, cleaning, and dishes were left undone.

And you know what? It felt fucking great.

I truly believe in the need to go crazy sometimes.

It takes different forms for different people.

Maybe it’s deleting a days worth of emails without opening them.

Or a night out dancing till the wee hours of the morning.

And sometimes, it’s day of gluten free/vegan pizza, sweet potato fries, and all 3 Matrix movies back to back #sorrynotsorry.

We need those liberating moments from the monotony of day-to-day life, and I think these “Fuck It” moments are extremely healthy.

The trick here is, that it’s a moment.

Not a week, or a month, or a year or two.

At some point, we need to bounce back to our healthy routine if we want to stay well and feel well long term.

So where a night of box wine with your bestie can be totally healthy for you in an emotional (and therefore, physical and spiritual) way, a week of pounding back Oreo sleeves can be a bit much, and can start to wreak havoc on your physical self (and therefore, your emotional and spiritual self… see what’s happening here?)

What’s important is that we find the ways to let that be a fun time, and not an all the time.

To say “that was great” and then go back to eating our kale salads and drinking our water and riding our bikes to work.

Because ultimately, doing those healthy things allow us to have fun in the first place!

They get us feeling good, so we have the energy to go to that dance party and have stoop cook-outs with our friends.

It’s all about moderation and balance.

So go ahead, blow off your routine for a day, and have fun!

And then, you know, maybe drink some extra water the next day.

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5 Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Allergies

I don’t know about you guys, but things are tough on the allergy front here in Baltimore right now.

It seems like everyone I know has itchy eyes, sneezing, sore throat, and brain fog.

Focus seems impossible, and my contacts consistently try to jump out of my eyes by 2pm every day.

So what’s the deal?

Seasonal allergies happen when the mucus membranes of the nasal lining are inflamed by pollen in the air.

Our bodies view the pollen as an invader, and responds accordingly, same as when we have a cold.

Typically this isn’t a huge issue, but pollen levels seem to be on the rise every spring.

Some research indicates that climate change has caused the rise in pollen levels year to year, and the numbers are only going up. 

Not great news, I know.

But there are ways to help ease the suffering through the spring.

Vitamin C

 Getting some extra vitamin C in your diet can actually help with allergy symptoms.

Vitamin C helps stop the formation of histamine, which is the cause of all those gross feelings, where as an anti-histamine (like Benadryl) work by interfering with histamine after it’s produced.

Eat some extra citrus fruits, or try an Emergen-C packet during tough pollen days.

Quercetin  

Quercetin is actually a bioflavonoid (the natural pigments found in fruits and veggies) found in onions oddly enough, but it’s a really effective histamine inhibitor.

Best absorbed when taken with some Vitamin C.

Take Care of your Gut

 Gut health has a huge effect on all systems in the body, so when it’s not working right, things get a little crazy.

When the digestive system isn’t at it’s best, a condition called “Leaky Gut” can occur, where the lining of the intestine become porous, allowing bacteria, undigested food and toxins into the blood stream.

The body sees this as a threat, which kicks up inflammation in the body.

More inflammation = more allergy symptoms.

So what can you do?

Take a good quality probiotic supplement, and eat lots of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir.

If you suspect you have a food allergy, try an elimination diet for two weeks to see how your body feels.

Acupuncture

I’m no acupuncturist, but I work with several lovely practitioners and I’ve experienced first hand how acupuncture can help with allergy symptoms.  Can’t afford private practice?  Check out

www.pocacoop.com

to find your nearest community acupuncture clinic (or if you are in Baltimore, check out

Mend Community Acupuncture

, where I work and get treated!).  In community acupuncture, you’re treated in a group setting, so you’re able to get way discounted care. 

Neti Pot / Saline Rinse

 Nasal irrigation is about as fun as it sounds, but this stuff works.

Get yourself a cute little neti pot, fill it with a saline solution (usually included with the pot) and try not to drown yourself in your bathroom sink.

It takes a few tries to get the angle right, but once you do your sinuses will be feeling sweet relief.

If you 100% can’t get the neti pot thing going, try a saline rinse like Simply Saline.

My grandmother swears by it, and uses it on a daily basis to keep the ick at bay during the winter season.

Above all, if you’re feeling crappy from the pollen in the air, take it easy on yourself and get some extra rest.

What are your go-to allergy remedies?

Let me know in the comments below!

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You Are Enough.

You Are Enough.

Period.

Just as you are.

Not a damn person can tell you otherwise.

They say we are our own worst critics, and I know that is 100% true.

The things we say to ourselves in our minds are horrific.

Things we would never in a million years say to out loud to another person’s face.

And the scary thing is, sometimes we don’t even notice we’re doing it.

It takes a lot of mindfulness to even realize the hurtful thoughts we have about ourselves.

For years I told myself I was ugly, stupid, and terrible at everything, and I didn’t even notice I was doing it.

For years there were unconscious thoughts about how awful I was just running in the background of my life 24/7.

And as you probably know, it wears you down in a way that feels physical, emotional, and spiritual.

I don’t remember when I started to notice the self-loathing that was happening.

Maybe it was after my sister Molly passed along Louise Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life” or when I started learning about the Law of Attraction and the Universe.

But all of a sudden it was clear.

I could hear all those totally fucked up thoughts I was having about myself.

Which is powerful, because once you notice it you can start to do something about it.

At first I would get mad at myself.

My head would say “Cait, you are the worst at painting.

Why are you even doing this? Seriously, painting?” and my gut response would be to fire back with even more hurtful things, like “OMG, why am I thinking this? What is wrong with me? You are the WORST at positive thinking, GOD!”

Not exactly helpful.

It wasn’t until I came to my negative thought pattern without judgment that I could start to move past it.

Instead of meeting my negativity with more negativity, I started to just respond back with the opposite, positive, statement.

So it looked something like this:

Negative: “Cait, your feet are enormous and nobody loves you.”

Positive: “Cait! Your feet are awesome and can kick the kickball out of the park and move you around and do cool stuff!

And also everyone loves you, you beautiful soul!!! <3 <3 <3”

The positive voice is wildly excited.

Our bodies hear everything our minds say, and negativity can affect us in long and short term ways. Besides anxiety and depression, it can also contribute to us making poor choices in regards to our health and wellness.

In meditation, they often teach you to think of thoughts as clouds just passing by.

In the same way we notice clouds and see them go, we can do the same thing with negative thoughts.

Without judgment, just send them on their way.

More will come, and they can just float on by.

The important idea to come away with here is that dealing with negative self-talk is a practice.

It won’t change overnight.

All you can do is continue to bring your awareness back to positive thinking, and self-love.  

And just remember that you are enough.

Right now.

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Slowing Down and Easing Into Spring

It’s spring.

You know what that means?

Now every weekend there will be like 10 events all scheduled at the same time that all sound really cool and I want to go to them all.

It doesn’t hurt my skin to go outside anymore!

Let’s do all the things!

I think most of us feel this surge of energy when the weather gets warm.

We want to shed off the layers of winter and break free into the sun.

Which is great, and we should do that, but we need to be mindful of how fast we jump into that.

Every time the weather warms up a little, I see folks outside in shorts, flip-flops and tank tops.

60 degrees feels really warm right now compared to the insane snow and polar vortexes of winter, but that’s a huge shock to our bodies to suddenly have our skin super exposed.

  And I'm a Jersey Girl, I love me some flip-flops.  

So often people get sick during this transitional time, because we take it too fast.

We get too excited!

There’s a huge benefit to slowing down year round, and especially during seasonal transitions.

Slowing down helps our nervous system relax, helps our brains focus better and helps us feel happier and more content.

Who doesn’t want that?

Easier said than done, I know.

I’m definitely in the camp of

do as I say and not as I do

when it comes to slowing down and easing into things.

I eat in front of my computer.

I rarely meditate.

I stay up too late working on projects that can wait.

I over schedule myself.

But at the same time, I’ve also resisted the urge to stop wearing my scarf.

I haven’t broken out my bin of warm weather clothes.

I’ve said no to a lot of people, commitments and outings.

And I’ve napped!

Oh, the naps.

So so good.

So as we move forward into the warm weather, I invite you to find ways to slow down and ease into spring in your own life.

Maybe that means you read before bed instead of staring at a screen.

Maybe you take a leisurely walk instead of a hurried drive.

Or maybe it’s just doing the things you have to get done with more focus and intention, instead of simultaneously making a mental list of what else needs to get done.

Take deep breathes, and take care of you!

What are your favorite ways to slow down?

Let me know in the comments below!

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My Go-To Flu Remedies

Oh yes.

  It's happened.  

I’ve caught that nasty spring flu that’s been making it’s rounds around the Greater Baltimore/DC Metro area.

Probably brought on by a mixture of

my super hectic week last week

, hanging out with a sick kid on Monday, and the totally insane ‘world is maybe gonna end soon’ temperature fluctuations we’ve been having.

At first I tried to deny it.

It’s just seasonal allergies, right?

I’ll do my usual allergy remedies (more on that in the coming weeks) and be on my way.

But boy I was wrong.

After my typically grocery shopping trip I came home and was completely unable to function.

Body aches, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches… the works.

So I broke out my go-to remedies, and figured now would be a good time to share them with you all.

Elderberry Syrup.

Elderberry syrup has been used for generations to prevent and treat the flu.

Elderberries are very high in Vitamin A and C, and have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.

All great for the flu.

It’s easy to find on

Amazon

, or you can make your own

with this recipe from Wellness Mama

Zand Zinc Lozenges.

We got these at work over the winter and they’ve been awesome for sore throats.

The elderberry ones

are a great way to get some of the benefits listed above, and

the lemon mint ones

are great too.

Zinc is known for regulating immune function, and shortening the duration of the common cold.

Emergen-C.

This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s still one I keep handy for times I’m feeling the ick.

High doses of Vitamin C can help shorten the duration of the cold/flu and speed up recovery.

Oscillococcinum.

I always keep

this homeopathic remedyfrom Boiron

on hand for times like this to relieve symptoms like body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue.

The bonus is it doesn’t have any side effects like drowsiness, though it does work best if you start taking it as soon as symptoms come up.

And of course, obviously, plenty of rest and clear fluids.

If you’re in the “I’m surrounded by the infected” camp, also add in some Echinacea to help keep the sick at bay.

Good luck to the fellow flu-infected.  

What about you? What are your go-to's for the flu?

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