Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

A Time to Rest

Workout. Take kids to school. Shower. Chiropractor. Target. Laundry. Email. Social media connections. Work stuff.

Sound familiar?

I took a break from working on my computer today to go water my flowers and realized that it is absolutely GORGEOUS outside…and I was missing it! This was my chance to rest, read a book, and enjoy the quiet, but I was too busy focused on what needed to be done.

It’s so easy to get caught up on all the things we have to do, that we forget to take the time to stop and enjoy the moment.

So, yes, this is a short blog post. Why? Because I’m going to go enjoy the beautiful weather and take some time for myself.

Finding rest is just as important as checking things off your to-do list.

How can you incorporate rest into your day?

Chemical-free Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Aging Gracefully

I remember other women talking about how things change once you turn 40 years old. As someone passionate about health and fitness, I falsely assumed that nothing would change when I turned 40. I mean, for women, our metabolism starts to decrease around age 25 (for men, it’s age 30), but you can push that back with diet and exercise…which I successfully have. So, I assumed it would be the same with my hormones.

I was in for a rude awakening. When I turned 40, it was like a timer went off in my body that told it to go crazy. My mood swings took a dark turn, my headaches increased, and the bloating was insane. I knew that I needed to find a natural solution to managing my hormones. Here are some different options where I have found success:

Add magnesium to your diet. When I first mentioned the crazy hormones to my OB-GYN, she knew that I prefer the natural route, so recommended that I increase my magnesium. I started eating more foods with magnesium (raw cacao, almonds, etc.) and taking this supplement.

Try seed cycling. After I turned 40, I realized that I should probably get a physical (it had been 10+ years since my last one). I wanted a more holistic doctor…so I saw the nurse practitioner at my children’s doctor’s office (the practice is a more holistic/homeopathic). I explained my hormone woes and she mentioned seed cycling. So, what is seed-cycling?

Seed cycling has you eating 1-2 tablespoons of Pumpkin seeds and Flax seeds daily for the first 14 days of your cycle (day 1 = first day of period) and then switching to Sunflower seeds and Sesame seeds for the last 14 days.

Pumpkin seeds and Flax seeds help balance estrogen during the follicular phase when estrogen levels are high. They are a good source of fiber, zinc, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (reduces inflammation). The fiber aids in digestion and helps to remove excess estrogen from the body.

Sunflower seeds and Sesame seed are taken during the luteal phase as progesterone levels start to rise. Sesame seeds help avoid PMS symptoms by binding excess estrogen and sunflower seeds have selenium that supports liver and hormone function.

You can add the seeds to smoothies, put in oatmeal, layer on avocado toast, or create these energy balls.

Add ashwagandha to help with stress relief. In the fall of 2020, USANA introduced their mood and relaxation line which included Stress Relief. It’s made with ashwagandha – known to help ease anxiety and support a healthy mood.

Try Moon Balance by Your Super. I loved doing seed-cycling and saw amazing results, however, I was getting tired of creating the energy balls and remembering to take them all with me when I traveled. In October 2020, I came across an add for Moon Balance by Your Super to balance my hormones naturally and decided to give it a try…wow! It works great! It comes in powdered form and is a blend of baobab, maca, hibiscus, amla, beetroot, and shatavari. You can mix it with water (warning: it tastes disgusting) or blend it in a smoothie. I put it in my smoothie every day and never miss taking it!

If you are nearing 40 (or past it) try incorporating one or more of these products into your life…and give it about 3 months to see the effects. It’s easy, it’s natural, and it’ll be sure to help you age gracefully.

Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Forced Stop

Sometimes I find ways to slow things down, other times God has to force me to stop.

Last year, when the pandemic started and our world stopped, it forced us all to take a break and re-evaluate. I realized two things: 1. my current job caused me to miss time with my children and 2. our schedules were filled with too many things.

Last summer, God provided me with a new job that allows me to work at my kids’ school and no longer miss their activities and afterschool conversations. My husband and I have also been more intentional about what we sign our kids up for — we want our kids to be active, but to also enjoy just being kids.

Well, it’s a year later and, once again, God has forced me to stop.

A couple of months ago I joined an incredible Women’s Entrepreneurs group that values support, encouragement, and authentic relationships. In my typical fashion, I made the most of things and dove right in, filling my calendar with lunch meetings, Zoom meetings, and networking. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it starting to catch up with me…that I had let my excitement cause my calendar to be filled with back-to-back activities. Every space that wasn’t put aside for my kids and teaching was filled with lunches and meetings. I was afraid I was going to burn out…and that’s when God stepped in.

I’m now on day 8 out of 10 in isolation after testing positive for COVID. I’ve been fortunate to have few symptoms and have felt fine most of the time, but my body is getting much needed rest — mentally and physically. I’m able to use this time to work on my own business without running myself ragged. And I’m going to be more diligent going forward with spreading things out in my calendar so I don’t risk burn out again. (And since my daughter tested positive the same day as me — I’ve gotten some sweet time with her in isolation.)

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me and forcing me to slow down when I struggled to do it for myself. Thank you for this time to refresh, relax, and restore my soul.

Goals Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Start Your Day Off Well

Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person, how you start your day often determines the outcome of it. From health to mindset to productivity, here are some tips to start your day off well.

  1. Get up! As soon as that alarm goes off, get out of bed! Don’t hit the snooze alarm. By training yourself to get up with the first alarm, you will actually be more rested and ready to go. You’ll also feel better about yourself and start the day with a positive mindset.
  2. Open the blinds and make your bed! As soon as you are up, let in the morning light! (If it’s winter and still dark out, you can wait — no need to flash your neighbors in the early morning.) Then make your bed. Why make your bed? Multiple reasons:
    • You have already accomplished one thing for the day!
    • This leads to a better self-perception, lowers your stress, and increases a positive mood.
    • It helps you keep the rest of your room tidy…
    • As well as your life — it increases productivity!
    • It will help you fall asleep at night. Getting into a bed that has been made actually helps your to relax better and get to sleep faster.
    • It’ll also keep you from crawling back into bed when you need to be up and going. 😉
  3. Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Squeeze half a lemon into 8oz of warm (not hot) water. Benefits of lemon water in the morning:
    • Boosts your immune system
    • Aids in digestion
    • Helps with weight loss
    • Balances pH
    • Clears skin
    • Freshens breath
    • Relieves respiratory problems
    • Helps you kick the coffee habit
  4. Spend 15 minutes in prayer and/or meditation. You can also spend the time reading an inspirational or motivational book. This allows you to prepare your heart and put your head in the right mindset for the day.
  5. Move your body. Spend 30 minutes doing some sort of movement. It doesn’t have to been an intense workout. A brisk walk is fine. Moving your body helps wake you up and gets the blood flowing to your brain, making you more productive and ready to conquer the day. Moving your body can be fun! Need ideas, let me know. 🙂
  6. Shower. Other than the fact that it’s good hygiene (especially after you workout), with so many people still working remotely, it’s important to mention. Take your shower, do your hair, put on makeup, and put on real clothes. Why? You will both feel better about yourself and be in the mindset that you are working and need to get things done.

Start with one thing above and add it to your morning routine until you are doing all of them! You will see a change in your mindset and outlook for the day. And remember…one bad thing doesn’t set the tone for the day. You can turn a bad day into a good one with a positive mindset!

Faith Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

My Favorite (Non-Fiction) Books

I LOVE to read. I rarely watch TV, because I am always reading. Everywhere I go, I bring a book with me because I would rather lose myself in a book than stare at my phone non-stop. I read a TON of fiction books, but also try to fill my time reading non-fiction books that grow my faith, business knowledge, healthy habits, etc. Here are some of my top favorite books. Take a look and then go grab a copy for yourself! (Side note: I love getting books from the library, but these are all ones worth owning — so you can re-read them and share them.)

1. Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

I can’t give this book enough praise! If you have ever made excuses for not meeting a goal, following a dream, fixing a problem…then you need this book! It’s easy to read, super practical, and Marie is so incredibly relatable. So stop making excuses about having time or money to read this book 😉 and go figure it out! As you’ll learn, everything is figureoutable!

2. Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet — One Bite at a Time by Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr, Hyman does a great job of walking us through where our food comes from, how current farming practices are depleting our land and resources, and how the way money is poured into companies that provide junk food to our bodies is another part of social injustice. He not only gives insight and knowledge into the situations around us, but practical solutions and ways you can start making a difference today.

3. The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz

The is by far my favorite book on creating a lifestyle free from harmful chemicals. The authors walk you room by room through a house and talk about the typical chemicals (and other things) that are found in those room and affecting your health. It’s fantastic resource that you’ll have to have near you at all times.

4. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

This is a great book to read whether or not you have your own business or are thinking of starting one — the principles in the book apply to everyone’s lives in some way. The book builds on the idea that one small thing can cause lasting change (for better or for worse). You can conquer big things and make a difference by starting with the small things.

5. Awe: Why It Matters For Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp

We started reading this last year in my small group at church and it has become a favorite of mine. The author points to how so many of our problems and issues ultimately stems from an “awe” problem — we have lost our awe of God, thus allowing the things of this world to affect us in so many harmful ways. It is both encouraging and freeing.

6. I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

I first read this book a couple of years ago when it first came out and WOW! So good. It not only opened my eyes to a lot of the real issues of race around me, it also talks about the role of African-Americans is not to constantly have to educate white people, etc. It’s a small book that packs a punch and is easy to read.

Health and Wellness Stress Relief

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the U.S. in March and we went into shelter-in-place, I remember feeling an overwhelming tiredness that didn’t make sense to me. I felt I was getting more sleep, we had nowhere to rush to, and I was grateful for the extra time with my family. Why the fatigue? As I talked to my friends, I learned that we were all experiencing similar feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

About a month later, I read an article that talked about how we are experiencing a “fight or flight” response to the pandemic. The “fight or flight” response causes our cortisol levels to rise which can be helpful when needing to escape a situation, however, with no way to do anything during COVID, those responses continue to rise and can cause restlessness, trouble sleeping, GI issues, etc. 

Obviously, we are unable to fight or flee the pandemic, so for some people, the body goes into a freeze response – low energy, difficulty concentrating, avoidance of all news, and feeling exhausted are some of the symptoms.

I realized that my body was falling into the freeze response and that I needed to find strategies to cope with the stress. For me, creating a schedule and continuing to accomplish things while at home was important. I woke up to my alarm, set aside time for my business and workouts, made schedules for my children, and spent time walking, praying, and singing. And it worked!

We’ve started to find our new normal. My kids are fortunate to be in school all day, five days a week and I teach at their school two days per week. We have slowly brought some activities back into our schedule too. Things have been feeling good.

Fast forward to last week…the cases are rising in my state and someone I was in close contact with (although always more than six feet away) tested positive for COVID. I was late in finding out about the person’s symptoms and worried that I might have passed it unknowingly to someone else. I had a COVID test done on Friday, just to be safe and it took multiple days to get the results (negative). While I waited I found myself shutting down as I thought of all the ramifications if I was positive (kids e-learning, not working, canceling kids’ birthday events, etc.). When I finally got the results back, I could feel my energy increase, however, I was still feeling unrested in the morning…and then I remembered the “fight or flight” response. My body is still responding to the stress even as I get back to normal. And it’s not over — things are starting to shut down in our state again. So how will I cope with it? Same as last time — movement, prayer, schedules, and natural supplements to keep me calm and at peace.

How about you? How has COVID effected you? What strategies have you put in place to conquer the stress and anxiety? If you haven’t created any, now would be a good time. Figure out where you are struggling — write it down — and make a plan. Don’t let the stress overtake you again like it did when it first started last March. 

And if you’re looking for some great natural stress relief, these products have worked amazingly for me:

Finally, I leave you with this encouragement from Philippians 4:5b-7: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Praying for you to stay safe and have a peace that exceeds anything you can understand!