Winter Health Tips

Baby, it's cold outside! Motivation seem to slow and sticking to those resolutions gets harder as the degrees drop. Keep yourself focused, calm, and centered with these easy-to-implement health tips. 

EAT TO LIVE

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I don't like the word "diet." Dieting is a mental state that just makes you think of all the things you're missing. Instead of going on a diet and focusing on all the things you're getting rid of, try incorporating more lively and colorful foods into your daily routine. Think of all the possibilities for a homemade stir fry, colorful smoothie, or roasted veggie dish The more vitamins and minerals you eat from whole, unprocessed food, the less you'll crave and be hungry for the junk.

GET MOVING

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I personally have always loved exercise, but I know I'm in the minority here. It's hard for me to stay motivated when it's this cold outside, but I think of exercise as something I do to make myself feel awesome afterward. Bored of the same ol' activity? Switch up your routine! Try yoga instead of running one day, take a dance class (or have a solo dance party in your living room), or even just go on a brisk 30 minute walk with a friend. The more your blood gets pumping the better (and warmer!) you'll feel.

LESS SUGAR/ALCOHOL/CAFFEINE

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Like it or not, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are all drugs. Reducing your intake of any of these will do wonders for you health. Of course, everything in moderation here - if you starve yourself of sugar and then binge later, that will be counterproductive. Limit your self to treats on the weekends, or maybe one day per week. I had to start telling myself to think of treats as "treats" - only having them on special days and not everyday. Try snacking on raisins or fruit instead of candy, substitute that 3rd cup of coffee for green or herbal tea, and limit those happy hours when you can. 

DRINK. MORE. WATER.


You hear it time and time again - practically every health tip blog will include this, and there's a multitude of great reasons. I always start my day off with at least 8 oz of water, if not 16 oz (yes, even before coffee or tea!). Think about it: you just spent 7+ hours going without water while you were sleeping - your body is already dehydrated. One of the worst things you could do would be to immediately introduce substances that could dehydrate you even further (*ahem*, caffeine, we're looking at you). Try drinking a glass of water before your morning coffee and notice the difference of how it makes you feel. I carry a 32 oz. water bottle with me practically at all times which helps me measure how much I'm drinking per day. Water helps lubricate joints and muscles, improves brain function, increases energy levels (!!), and can aid in weight loss, among a whole host of other benefits. If you find the taste of water boring, try infusing some herbs like mint or a squeeze of lemon or orange for some added flavor. 

PERSONAL TIME

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I notice myself getting super stressed when I don't reserve time for myself. My mother used to tell me to be mindful about guarding your personal time, and moms are almost always right! For the lucky ones, maybe you have 1 full day to yourself a week. If you're schedule is too crazy, or if you have kids, reserving even just 15 minutes a day to meditate, journal, or do other activities important to you will do wonders in keeping you sane. Try taking up a new hobby, drawing, learn to knit, joining a book club, reading on your own, scrapbooking, painting your nails, or taking a bath! Not sure where to start? Join us for a class and learn a new skill in a couple of hours! Link to see our class schedule here

When you start to feel pulled in too many directions, slow down and take some time for yourself. Trust me, not only will you feel better, the people around you will appreciate it as well!

In good health!
Amanda

Disclaimer: As the author, I have based my writings upon my own experiences, beliefs, and extensive research regarding the topics covered in this blog. However, I am not a medical doctor, nurse, or medical professional formally qualified in this subject matter. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. All diet and exercise decisions should be made with the approval of your health care provider. Please read and use the information that you derive from this blog appropriately and at your own risk. 

MOTIVATION MONDAY: FIGHTING WINTER BLUES

Being from Texas, I tend to romanticize winter a bit too much - the snow, hot cocoa, fuzzy scarves. However, that doesn't mean that I'm not subject to getting the blues when temperatures are consistently in the single digits. Here are a few tried and true tips to get you through the chillier months. Enjoy!

1. Morning Lemon Water If you do one thing off this list, choose this one. Swapping out your first cup of coffee for warm water with the juice of half a lemon is not only hydrating, it helps cleanse your internal organs and prepares them for all the hard work they do during the day. The bright citrusy scent will also help motivate you for the day ahead.

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2. Citrus Scents Citrus oils and scents can help perk you up and ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Essential oils and candles are my favorite ways to incorporate these scents into your daily routine. Put a few drops of lemon, orange, grapefruit, or bergamot into a warm bath or add a drop to your daily body moisturizer. Be careful not to use essential oils undiluted, but either in the bath or with a carrier oil or moisturizer (I use grape seed oil, but you could also use almond, avocado, or coconut). I just recently became obsessed with the Bonnie Body Balm candles we carry, especially the tangerine lavender scent. Light one up while you're in the bath and use the melted shea and cocoa butter concoction to moisturize once you get out! You'll smell absolutely divine. 

3. Epsom Salts Speaking of baths, add a couple cups of epsom salts to the water while you're soaking. Not only will it relax you and soften your skin, the magnesium will lift your mood and flush toxins from your body. A giant bag costs mere pennies at the drugstore!

4. Take Your Vitamins Good nutrition is essential for keeping your mind, body, and spirit working in harmony with one another. During the winter months when we see little to no sun, a vitamin D supplement is crucial for keeping your immune system strong. A vitamin B complex can be useful for keeping your energy levels up, and don't forget about vitamin C! We tend to forget all of the wonders this popular vitamin can do, but it is essential for fighting winter bugs. I also incorporate a fish oil supplement into my daily routine, as it not only helps improve my mood and brain function, but keeps my skin hydrated when all the moisture is being drained by the air around me. 

5. Exercise and Meditation I know the last thing most of us want to do when the air is freezing outside is to get our butts to the gym. However, the endorphins produced when exercising are a phenomenal way to bring you out of the deepest funk. I prefer practicing yoga when it's too cold to go running outside, and I also incorporate a small amount of meditation into my daily routine. Meditation helps to bring things back into perspective when dealing with stresses in life. Taking a small amount of time for yourself is essential for keeping yourself grounded - even if it's just 5 minutes a day. 

Lastly, take some time to practice gratitude - be thankful for all of the things you have in your life, no matter how simple they are. Appreciate the rhythm of the season and how time seems to slow down, and use this time to invest in yourself and your relationships. 

In health and happiness,

Amanda
 

Disclaimer: As the author, I have based my writings upon my own experiences, beliefs, and extensive research regarding the topics covered in this blog. However, I am not a medical doctor, nurse, or medical professional formally qualified in this subject matter. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. All diet and exercise decisions should be made with the approval of your health care provider. Please read and use the information that you derive from this blog appropriately and at your own risk. 

Motivation Monday: setting (and attaining) goals!

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This the season for making resolutions, setting goals, and getting motivated!  I always love the energy and spirit of January's hopes and aspirations.  I am an avid self-help book reader, dream chaser, and general lover of all things self-growth focused.  I wanted to write a little post to share some tips that I have found useful in setting, pursing, and achieving my own personal and professional goals. Below are my five little steps that I use when setting and achieving my own goals.  I hope it helps you reach yours.

1. Create realistic goals : Set yourself up for success from the beginning.  I always encourage people to dream big, but set realistic (a.k.a. attainable) goals. Create a longer timeframe for your larger goals.  "I want to be a billionaire" could be "by the time I retire."  If it comes sooner, great!  A more realistic goal would be, "I want to increase my salary by 15K this year".  Then you have a pretty attainable goal with a specific deadline.  Now you can easily set yourself up with smaller tasks that will help you reach your goal!

2.  Create measurable outcomes Specific time frames and measurable outcomes will help you set up the framework you need to achieve your goals. For example, "I want to make more money." vs."I want to increase my salary by 15K this year".   "I want to make more money" is a little vague.  Think like a big company.  I don't think you would hear Pepsi say, "lets try to sell more sodas this year." in their board room.  Set yourself up with a specific goal that has a measurable out come and then you can break the end point into the steps you need to take you there.

3. Break your goal down into steps Even if you are working with a big goal such as "I want to organize the whole house" (one of mine) or "I want to make 15K more this year", start with the steps.  Once I have a main goal, I start to break it down into the smaller tasks that will get me to the end point.  Let's take my home organizing goal and break it into steps.

1. Research organizing tips: Pinterest, Magazines, Blogs, etc.

2. Buy organizing items: shelves, storage bins, etc.

3. Start with one area at a time.  This week: the bedroom.

4. Begin by getting rid of the things I don't need, don't use, or don't love. Donate them to charity or give them to friends.

5. Start sorting the rest into categorizes by type, color, or frequency of usage.

6. Use bins, shelves, etc. to get the categories into action.

7. Repeat process with the next area in the house.

See how much easier it is to get to your goal if you break it down into little steps. Part of the reason people don't attain what they intend is because they get overwhelmed and are afraid to start or continue.  If you break your goals into smaller tasks, it makes attainment more feasible. Enjoy crossing items off your list.  That sense of accomplishment will motivate you to continue your project.

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4. Check-in, re-focus, and re-inspire It is easy to get off track after the initial excitement wears off.  I like to routinely set aside time at the end or the beginning of each week to "check in" with my goals and see where I stand.  If you are on track, pat yourself on the back! If you are off, don't beat yourself up, just start again.  I sometimes need to find ways to re-focus myself on my goals that have started to slip through the cracks.  Here a  couple of techniques I use:

1. Re-inspire your goals: I use Pinterest, Instagram, and seek out meetings with leaders in my field to stay inspired by what they are doing.  Seeing others doing amazing things usually fuels me to start again.  Just don't let their successes intimidate you.  Don't compare yourself to their accomplishments.  Everyone is on a different path.  Be inspired.

2. Make a list of why you wanted to achieve your goal.  In my organizing example my reasons are; to make room for new stuff in my life, to spend less time looking for what I need, to only surround myself with things I love, to create a restful and inspiring place to recharge my batteries etc.

3. I also like to hang up motivating pictures and sayings near my workspace.  I write my goals on notes where I can see them everyday to keep it fresh in my mind. I write a list of them in a pretty notebook and review them weekly.  Stay focused!

5. Reward yourself Once you have attained your goal, it is important to take time to reflect.  I am super ambitious and always trying to rush off to the next thing.  To stay charged and productive, it is important to reflect on your success.  Think of this time as charging yourself up with positivity.  I reflect in a couple of ways; I meditate during a quiet time on what I did well, I write about what I did in my journal, and/or I talk about it with my friends, loved ones, or my team.  All of these people helped me to attain my goals and it is nice to share the success with them.  When you are done, make sure to reward yourself in other ways too!   This is my favorite part.  Do something you love that is a little out of your ordinary routine.  Things I like to do are: go out to a fancy dinner, get a massage, spend a day in bed reading a great book, go on a trip (if it was a huge and long term goal), and/or treat my team to a dinner or reward.

That is about it.  I hope you find this helpful and inspiring!

Go chase your dreams,

Nicole