Categories
Goals Health and Wellness

Goals That Stick

For many people, New Year = New Goals. And, as we know, most people only last a month or two before giving up on them. Having goals is great, however, most people give up because it is unattainable, they don’t have a plan to meet the goal, or they are looking for quick results.

There is nothing wrong with coming up with a list of goals for the new year…as long as you realize that it might take all year (or even longer) to attain them. Most won’t get achieved in one month — which means that you can’t give up after January if you haven’t met your goal AND you can’t wait to get started until November or December. Start right away with the knowledge that anything great worth doing is worth the time and effort.

It’s helpful to have smaller goals as you reach for your big goals (which I like to call my Dreams for the year). Dreams are the big picture, but you need multiple, smaller goals to reach your big goal/dream. So, you may have a big goal of losing 30lbs, but your smaller goals may be to lose 1-2 pounds per week, add one vegetable to your day, etc. You may want to get into an exercise routine again, but you can’t just go run five miles. Your smaller goal may be to do 10 minutes of movement per day for one week, etc. and then build from there.

Another reason people fail to meet their goals is that they don’t know how to make goals. You need to make SMART goals.

Specific: Goals should be clear and state specifically what you wish to be accomplished.

Measurable: You need to be able to measure your goals so that you can see your progress.

Attainable: Goals should be realistically attainable.

Relevant: Goals need to be relevant to your particular needs, interests, and abilities.

Time-bound: Goals need to have a timeline for completion.

Your smaller goals may only be for a week or month, then once you meet that goal, you create a new one to move you toward ultimately completing your big goal. When I decided I wanted to stop eating chocolate every day and quit sugar years ago, my original goal was to go just one day without sugar! After I did the one day, my goal was one week. Then it was two weeks, then one month, etc. I started with a super small goal and then built on it.

If you read my previous post, you know that I’m waiting to set any goals for the year and just taking it one day at a time. (Focusing on the daily, is in itself a small goal!). You might not have goals you are working on now, but these are some tips that will help whenever you choose to create a goal.

Need help with your goals? Feel free to reach out and I can give you some other tools and resources to get you going and offer accountability.

Categories
Health and Wellness Self-care

Healthy Happy Joints

Are you stiff when you get up in the morning? Do your knees or hips hurt when running or jumping? Do you feel like your 70 when your only in your 30s?

You don’t have to feel that way! Taking care of your joints now is SO important and there are simple things that you can do to help you feel and move better.

Here are 5 things you can start doing today to support healthy joints and movement:

  1. Move your body: The longer you sit, the more your muscles tighten. Staying active throughout the day (get those steps in!) will both help your joints feel better now and in the future.
  2. Strength Training: Did you know that a lot of knee pain comes from an imbalance of muscles strength? Our quads tend to naturally be stronger than our other leg muscles. When our quads (front of our thighs) are stronger than our hamstrings (back of our thighs), it pulls on our knee joints and can cause shooting pain. By strengthening your hamstrings and glutes (butt), you’ll not only feel stronger, but have less pain in your knees! But don’t just strength train your legs! You want to train your entire body. Looking for a great app that can help you do strength training (and overall fitness) at home? Try out the Pretty Muscles app by Erin Oprea. You’ll love it!
  3. Stretching: Just as an imbalance of muscles can cause joint pain, tight muscles can pull at your joints and affect how your move causing pain as well. Take the time to really stretch after a workout, try adding Yoga 1-2x/week, and find times throughout the day to stretch (just make sure you move those muscles some and warm them up before you stretch).
  4. Chiropractor: When your body is out of line, you will feel it in your joints. Find a good chiropractor to help keep your body moving well. Just going once a month for an adjustment will keep you feeling good for a long time…not just now, but as you age as well (take note: if you are dealing with pain now, a chiropractor will start you coming around 2 x/week, then eventually move it down to a maintenance phase as you start feeling better.) Also, find a chiropractor that you love — everyone has different styles and techniques. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a chiropractor that gels with your needs and comfort level.
  5. Supplements: There are a variety of supplements that have been proven to support healthy joints.
    • Collagen: Collagen is important for skin, hair, nails, AND your joints! In fact, it is one of the key building blocks for healthy joints. Never hurts to add some collagen to your supplement routine.
    • Glucosamine: Glucosamine has been proven to rebuild cartilage! Great supplement to add to your diet to keep you moving well.
    • Fish Oil: Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation. Less inflammation means less joint pain.

Interested in what supplements I use and recommend for healthy joints? You can check out this list here.

Here’s hoping that incorporating these ideas will have you feeling free to move your body anyway you choose!

Categories
Faith Goals

Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This might be the biggest lie that we teach children. Words wound deeply and can stick with us for years.

I was pondering this on my way to teach P.E. to 5th-8th graders the other day. My first class of the day is 6th grade and my son is in that class. Trying to be funny about not liking the activity we were doing, he said something that hit on my biggest insecurity and took the wind out of my sails. Words hurt.

I’ve seen people I trusted say hurtful things about my family, labeling and accusing, demeaning and laying us bare. Words that cut deeply and left us raw and exposed. Words that are still trying to heal. Words hurt.

I’ve watched my daughter’s anxiety rise as a result of the careless words spoken impulsively by kids she considered her friends. Words hurt.

Words can also heal.

I’ve watched my daughter radiate joy when her brother compliments her on something she has done that is really important to her. Words heal.

I’ve watched my son’s chest expand and smile return as his dad praises his performance and tells him how proud his is of him. Words heal.

I’ve felt acknowledged and affirmed when a new friend has shown genuine care and asked to spend time with me. Words heal.

How are you using your words? Are you using them to lift someone up and encourage them or are you using them to bring others down?

I’m working to pause before speaking and keeping harsh words to myself, because I know how words can hurt.

And I’m choosing to tell someone every day something affirming and encouraging, because I know how words can heal.

“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24, NLT

Categories
Health and Wellness Self-care

My Wish For You

I talk a lot about wellness and taking care of your bodies. This isn’t just a passing phase or hobby…it is truly my heart and what I care about, not just for myself, but for the people around me. I heard someone say recently, “I want die young at an old age.” And that is my wish for you: to live a full life – healthy and thriving – until an old age. I want you to get the most out of life. This requires you to take care of yourself…and not just physically.

True wellness (or total fitness) is physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental. I hope that through my blog, you’ve been able to see some of my journey in each of these areas and have encouraged you in your quest for wellness as well.

So here is my wish for you…

Physically: that you would find ways to move you body that bring you joy; that you would fuel your body with good foods and use quality supplements to fill that gap; that you would give you body the rest it needs to heal and replenish; that you would take care of your body so that you can thrive each day.

Emotionally: that you would be able to process through your feelings — whether with a friend or a professional — and find healing and hope; that you would grow in empathy and kindness.

Mentally: that you would find solutions to your problems and learn to process through all the information thrown at you to determine what is worth listening to and what should be ignored.

Socially: that you would have fulfilling relationships with others; that you would be a good friend; that you would find ways to serve and care for those around you.

Environmentally: that you would choose products that are free are harmful chemicals and toxins; that you would be wary of what you put in and on your body.

Spiritually: that you would run to Jesus and know him as your Lord and Savior; that you would see God working in the good and the bad and know that he loves you, sees you, and cares for you; that you would experience growth in your faith in God and love for others; that you would be filled with a peace and contentment and joy that makes no sense to the rest of the world.

My prayer and my desire for you is to find true and total health. That is what “wellness” means to me.

Categories
Chemical-free Health and Wellness Self-care

My Top 5

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted my favorite things, so here is a list of some things that I am loving right now:

  1. Vuori: I recently heard about this clothing company from an ad on the Smartless Podcast. I’ve always been loyal to Athleta, but Vuori’s prices were comparable and I thought I would try them out. I got a pair of their joggers and they are both incredibly flattering and SO comfortable. I literally rub my hands on them whenever I’m in my closet because they are that soft and amazing. 😂 Looking forward to the weather cooling off (just a little bit — I don’t like the cold) so I can wear them. 😊

2. Smartless: If you are looking for podcast that has great celeb interviews with a lot of laughs, then look no further. Smartless is hosted by Will Arnet, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes – three of the funnier comedians. They interview different celebs each week and it is AWESOME. If you love podcasts, give this one a try (*there is some language, so don’t listen with young children in the car).

3. Withco: I recently learned about Withco Cocktails when I visited a boutique that my friend works at (if you live in the Chicago area, check out Wykewood House in downtown Aurora or Wheaton). It is a mixer made with simple ingredients. You simply add the alcohol (or club soda for a mocktail), shake or stir, and enjoy. Each bottle is $20 gives you around 10 servings. So, you can have a easy quality cocktail at home for way less than a restaurant.

4. Advanced Collagen: USANA just released their Advanced Collagen drink a couple of weeks ago and it is SO delicious! It has collagen, biotin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C to promote healthy skin aging and strengthen you hair and nails. Contains antioxidants to help you look and feel your best…at any age!

5. Beautycounter Deodorant: I have been using natural deodorants for years. The one I was previously using was good, but I had to apply it more than once per day. I love Beautycounter for their great chemical-free makeup, so when they released their deodorant (the Clean Deo), I knew that I needed to give it a try. I’m so glad that I did! It smells great, goes on easy, and – best of all — it keeps me smelling great ALL day…even through my sweatiest workouts.

Give these products a try and let me know what you think!

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness Self-care

Super Summer

Most people think of January 1st as the best time to start working on their health goals (new year, etc.), however, the summer is a great time to get healthy!

With the warmer weather and longer days, there are so many more ways to move your body and keep active. And the summer also means a larger selection of yummy fruits and vegetables to snack on to help your reach your nutrition goals.

So, now that summer is in full swing, here are some ways to make the most of it (health-wise):

  • Let your body get up with the sun and go for a nice long walk before it gets too hot outside. It’ll wake you up and get you ready for the day.
  • Stock up on fruits and veggies. Even better…find a Farmer’s Market near you and support their businesses, get the best fruit and veggies, and enjoy the fresh air while you shop!
  • Got a sweet craving? Buy a watermelon and have it sliced up and in your fridge to grab whenever you have a craving. (Tip: I cut my watermelon in half and cube one side, then put saran wrap on the other half. After I eat the cubes, then I cut up the other half. I find that none of the watermelon goes bad that way.) Another great grab and go option are grapes.
  • Drink your water!!! Remember, you are to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. If you are sweating a lot, then drink more!
  • Working out in the yard and sweating a lot? USANA just released a watermelon electrolyte replacement drink that is great after a long workout or on a hot day (and doesn’t have all the chemicals that is in Gatorade, etc.). You can find it here: https://danan.usana.com/s/VdbJR1

Summer is the best time to get healthy inside and out! Need more suggestions and/or accountability? Send me message and I would love to help you reach those goals!

Here’s to a healthy, safe, and fun super summer!

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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!

Categories
Health and Wellness Self-care

Know Your Body

I’m officially old.

This past Monday, while playing kickball with my 5th grade P.E. class, I tweaked my back throwing the ball in from the outfield. The muscles instantly tightened and pain shot through my glute whenever I turned. I sucked it up and moved on, but knew I needed to get help that day. If I let it go for too long, the muscles would continue to tighten and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the next morning.

As soon as we got home from school, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for a hour later. After a painful but needed adjustment, my pain decreased by 50% when I went to bed and 80% the next morning. I’m thankful that I know my body well enough to know when the pain or “tweak” is something that I can manage or is something that needs to be taken care of right away.

This was a learned process. Trust me, I’m often the last person to go to a doctor or take the needed rest for any type of pain. But after a big injury back in the summer of 2019 that had me flat on my back, I learned to listen better to the pain signals, give myself time to heal, and not just “suck it up” or “walk it off.”

Nothing hits the ego or makes you feel old, then tweaking your back simply throwing a ball (another not-so-gentle reminder that I’m 42 and not 22). Even though I exercise, lift weights, eat well, take good supplements, etc., age can still be a factor. As we get older, it is even more important to take care of our bodies and listen to them.

Stay active. Eat well. Take high-quality supplements. Reduce the toxic chemicals. And don’t forget to take time to rest, heal, and listen to your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, but it might be different. You might have to ease into things, stretch even more (if you’re young, be good with your stretching NOW), and give yourself those rest days.

And if you need a sympathetic ear or encouragement, I’ll be over here nursing my back and ego.

Ready for some kickball! — pre-injury 😉